Don’t miss HSRT’s production of Noël Coward’s uproarious comedy “Hay Fever.” Performances run July 24, 25, 27, 29, and 31, and August 4 and 6 at 8:00 p.m. in the DeWitt Main Theatre.
Written by popular English playwright Noël Coward, “Hay Fever” tells the tale of a farcical night in the Bliss household. When each member of the Bliss family invites a guest over for the weekend, and then proceeds to drag the guests into family affairs, hilarity ensues. Among flirtations, parlor games, and drama, the guests must find a way to escape the befuddling world of the Bliss household.
Director Louis Rackoff returns to HSRT for the first time since 2012, when he directed “Pride and Prejudice.” Other productions that he has directed at HSRT include “I Remember Mama,” “The Guys,” “Billy Bishop Goes to War,” “El Capitan,” “The Merry Wives of Windsor,” “The Taming of the Shrew,” and “Candide.” “Noël Coward is one of the great playwrights and ‘Hay Fever’ is one of his best,” says Rackoff. “The delightful characters, sharp wit, and very funny comic collisions make this play a hilarious escape for the audience. The play is also an homage to theatre and to writing, two of Coward's passions. It has a charm that is undeniable for any audience.”
Lighting Designer Peter Sargent says that he sees Hay Fever as “a rather stylish comedy, well-written by Noël Coward….It is important to ensure it is bright and delightful for the audience.”
In the role of Judith Bliss is award-winning actress Susan Ericksen (AEA). Ericksen is no stranger to the HSRT stage, having appeared in many previous HSRT productions, including “The Matchmaker,” “The Sound of Music,” “I Remember Mama,” “The Guys,” and “The Light in the Piazza.” Ericksen is the recipient of multiple Audie awards for her work in the audiobook industry. She has recorded over 400 audiobooks, including the “In Death” series by JD Robb (Nora Roberts).
“[Judith] is just glorious!” comments Ericksen, “Lou Rackoff, our director, said on the first day of rehearsals that [“Hay Fever” is] really an homage or a love letter to the theatre in some ways. [The Bliss’] world is in the arts, and they’re all so incredibly clever and charming, and we, as the actors, get to be more elegant and beautiful and witty than any of us ever get to be in real life, and that feels so good.”
The role of Judith’s husband, David Bliss, is played by award-winning, Atlanta-based actor Mark Kincaid (AEA). Their daughter, Sorel Bliss, is played by acting intern Lucie de Sancy, who will be a senior at the University of Minnesota/Guthrie Theater BFA Actor Training Program. In the role of Simon Bliss, her brother, is acting intern Connor Briggs, an upcoming senior Musical Theater Major at Ithaca College.
The supporting cast includes Noah Bridgestock as Sandy Tyrrel, Ashlee Elizabeth Bashore as Myra Arundel, Kristopher Kuss as Richard Greatham, Kira Alsum as Jackie Coryton, and Shannon Huneryager as Clara.
Scenic Designer Joe Flauto says of his design for the Bliss house, “I want [the audience] to be charmed and amused. I want them to say ‘well, that’s odd.’ Because I think everything about the people who live there is odd. So I’ve tried to do some things that are...not fully realistic, and also sort of whimsical. I’m hoping they’ll say, ‘well, that’s peculiar.’” Flauto says of the play’s director, “[Rackoff] has a knack for things being charming and quizzical….He has a nice, light touch.”
Rackoff says that “Hay Fever” is a “buoyant comedy [and] farce...the production will be a joyful experience for our audience and for everyone working on the show.” The “Hay Fever” production team includes Joe Flauto as the scenic designer, Peter Sargent as the lighting designer, Kathryn Wagner as the costume designer, Jeffrey Levin as the sound designer, Erin Lindsay Carr as the Stage Manager, Richard Perez as the Managing Director, and Rachael Hasse as the Production Manager.
Individual tickets are now on sale at the college’s downtown ticket office, located in the Anderson-Werkman Building at 100 E. 8th St., which is open Monday - Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets are also available at the DeWitt Ticket Office (141 E. 12th St.), which is open Monday - Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from noon through intermission. Adult tickets are $30 for Mezzanine or Balcony and $25 for Orchestra seating. Senior, faculty, and staff tickets are $28 for Mezzanine or Balcony and $22 for Orchestra seating. Student tickets are $15 for all seating. Patrons can also purchase individual tickets online by visiting hope.edu/hsrt or calling (616) 395-7890. Ticket options also include the Season Ticket Package, which saves patrons up to 30% off individual ticket prices and guarantees a terrific seat for every performance. Season Ticket Packages are available at both ticket locations. The Best Buy Package offers seating for four main-stage performances for only $75 for adults, $70 for seniors, and $40 for students. The Super-Saver Package includes seating limited to the orchestra and admission to the four main-stage productions for $60 for both adults and seniors, and $40 for students.
If you want to stay connected this summer, make sure to sign up for the HSRT E-Newsletter on our website. Subscribers will receive behind-the-scenes videos, interviews, photos, articles and insights about this season’s productions. Also, make sure to set a reminder in your calendar to join us for our Bookfair at the Holland Barnes & Noble July 10 - 19. We will have live performances and readings with our “Smokey Joe’s Cafe,” “Junie B. Jones: The Musical,” “Jingle ARRGH The Way,” and “To Kill a Mockingbird” actors More information is available online at hope.edu/hsrt and facebook.com/hopesummertheatre