50th Anniversary of The Kweskin Theatre kicks off with Cabaret

Some cast members and choreographer, Jimmy Locust, on a break from rehearsing Cabaret, playing in The Kweskin Theatre, September 30 through October 22. (Curtain Call/contributed photo)

Some people say, “50 is the new 40,” but everyone at Curtain Call is excited to celebrate 50 as they kick off the 50th year of performances in The Kweskin Theatre with a show that has never been performed there: Cabaret. Performances of that Tony Award winning musical begin September 30.

The municipally-owned facility at Sterling Farms in Stamford has been managed by Curtain Call since 1992 and is a gem in the city’s rich cultural landscape. “As a lifelong Stamford resident, I feel so lucky to have had this theatre nurture me early in my career,” said Lou Ursone, Curtain Call’s executive director since 2000. “As its CEO for 22 years, I’m fortunate to have worked with thousands of amazing artists and technicians and to have met thousands more area theatre lovers,” he added.

The Sterling Farms Theatre Complex is home also to The Dressing Theatre, a 100-seat cabaret-style venue which will begin its fall season with Neil Simon’s Laughter on the 23rd Floor. Directed by Richard Mancini, this marks the first time in more than 20 years that the comedy has played at the complex.

In Laughter On The 23rd Floor Neil Simon, America’s most popular playwright, gives a peek into the writer’s room of a hit 1950’s television show. People everywhere gather around the TV each week to watch their favorite comedian Max Prince. He’s loud, brash and larger than life. His temper tantrums and one-liners have the power to make careers, or make misery for the writers working around him. The network censors want to change the show to make it more “advertiser friendly.” But messing with Max can only mean the jokes and jabs will get funnier and wilder in an uncertain future, as the world of television heads for change. Laughter On The 23rd Floor has been called “Simon’s funniest play!”

The cast includes: Stuart Adelberg, Roger Dykeman, Katie Imholt, Peter Johnson. David Neilsen, Mark Sank, Parke Stevenson, Candice Sisbarro and Gregory Suss. Set and lighting design are by Jamie LaJoie, costume design by Robin Mazzola, with stage management by Sheila Toner and Jan Ursone.

Mancini said, “I don’t often stage a play a second time – I’ve only done that a few times in the four decades I’ve been directing – but Laughter On the 23rd Floor is a special case. It’s been more than 15 years since the first time I tackled Neil Simon’s hysterical “memory play” fictionalizing his time spent in the writers’ room of Sid Caesar’s legendary 1950s TV comedy/variety show, Your Show of Shows.”

“Rich (Mancini) has directed some of our most successful comedies so I am thrilled to have him with us for this production,” said Ursone. “I’ve wanted to stage a production of Laughter since seeing the late Stamford resident, Gene Wilder, starring in a 1997 production in London’s West End,” he added.

“Bringing this roomful of lunatics – inspired by real-life budding geniuses like Caesar, Mel Brooks, Carl Reiner, Larry Gelbart, Lucille Kallen, Mel Tolkin, Michael Stewart, Woody Allen and author Simon himself – back to life in another venue, with another wonderful cast and crew, has been a real joy, and boy, are we having fun putting it together! So please come see us, and laugh your kishkas off,” said Mancini.

Performances will be held Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings at 8:00PM and Sunday afternoons at 2:00PM, beginning September 15. The Kweskin Theatre is located at The Sterling Farms Theatre Complex, 1349 Newfield Avenue, Stamford, CT. Doors open one half hour before show time. Tickets are $38 for adults, $28 for senior citizens and $20 for children under 21. Discounted Flex Passes offer reductions of about 255. Box Office: 203-461-6358 or on the web at www.curtaincallinc.com.

Following Laughter on the 23rd Floor and Cabaret, Curtain Call’s 32nd season also includes: The Cemetery Club, She Loves Me,  Assassins, The Wizard of Oz and many others, including the Fairfield County premieres of Groundhog Day, The Wisdom of Eve and more. Comedy nights, concerts and interactive murder mystery events are also on the schedule.

Curtain Call is the non-profit community-based theatre company that has been in residence at The Sterling Farms Theatre Complex for 30 years. Year-round productions and educational workshops for all ages are presented by and for area residents in The Kweskin Theatre and The Dressing Room Theatre.

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