Kicking off its “Pulitzer Series” of four plays exemplifying the Golden Age of American drama, this weekend and next, the Center for Performing Arts at Rhinebeck will stage one of the most beloved works of 20th-century theater: Thornton Wilder’s masterpiece, Our Town. It opens on January 27 and runs through February 5, with performances beginning at 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and at 3 p.m. on Sundays.
Though set in the small community of Grover’s Corners, New Hampshire, the play is traditionally staged with minimal props and scenery to emphasize its theme of the universality of human experience. “While Wilder’s observations about who we are and what matters most are still as profound and as true today as when he first put pen to paper in 1938, the world of Our Town has changed,” says director Patrick McGriff. “Our production strives to capture what our town is today by reflecting our city and our lives.”
A more diverse cast than is usual for the play will be employed to bring the Center’s production into 21st-century America. The ensemble includes Andy Crispell and Wendy Urban-Mead as Stage Managers, Aaron Stewart as George Gibbs, Rebecca Rivera as Emily Webb, John Schmitz as Dr. Gibbs, Rhonda Joseph as Mrs. Gibbs, Brian Kubsch as Mr. Webb, Elaine del Rio as Mrs. Webb, Tricia Franklin as Mrs. Soames, John Remington as Simon Stimson, Tessa Fountain as Rebecca Gibbs, Ja’sire Freeman as Wally Webb, Alex Skovan as Howie Newsome, Jonah Carleton as Joe Crowell, Jr., Jude Selenis as Si Crowell, David Dancyger as Constable Warren, Carl Anderson as Sam Craig, James O’Neill as Joe Stoddard and Sarah Hale-Rude, Matt Madonna, Hannarose Manning, Amir Jamal, Ruby Freedman and Cezar Ramon as Townspeople.
Purchased in advance by calling the box office at (845) 876-3080 or by visiting the Center’s website at www.centerforperformingarts.org, tickets cost $24 for adults and $22 for seniors and children. If any shows are not sold out, tickets will be available at the door for $20. If you sign up for the full Pulitzer Series by February 5, you’ll be able to obtain tickets to all four classic plays – Our Town, How I Learned to Drive, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Long Day’s Journey into Night – for a discounted package price of $75. Good deal!
The Center for Performing Arts is located at 661 Route 308, 3.5 miles east of the Rhinebeck village center.