In the Wings
T he Newsletter of The Concord Players
October 2019                   Amanda Casale, Editor 
BAREFOOT IN THE PARK AUDITIONS  
Auditions for Neil Simon's masterpiece Barefoot in the Park, directed by Lisa Astbury, will take place at 51 Walden on Wednesday, November 13th and Thursday the 14th with callbacks scheduled for Sunday the 17th starting at 7pm for all nights. This is a romantic comedy focusing on a pair of newlyweds, Corie and Paul, as they begin their new life in a tiny 5th floor walkup in Manhattan. Not only contending with a lack of heat, a skylight that leaks snow, an oddball neighbor Victor Velasco, and Corie's well-meaning mother, they must also reconcile their own differences in how they approach life's challenges. Cast of four men and two women. Hold the dates and check our website for sign up and more info!
FUNNY GIRL'S MEGHAN ROSE
Anyone with even the faintest knowledge of Broadway musicals knows that Barbra Streisand is inextricably identified with Fanny Brice, the central character in the Broadway musical Funny Girl. It is the role that catapulted her to stardom. Her tender and achingly beautiful rendition of the show's celebrated ballad, People, placed her at the zenith of American popular vocalists; a position she has yet to yield.

So, can a talented young performer step into the role of an icon whose life was immortalized by an iconic performer more than 50 years later? A smart one can. Meghan Rose, who will inhabit Ms. Brice this fall on the Concord Players' stage is indeed one smart cookie, and she's drawn upon all her experience and skill as an actor to bring an authentic performance to this role depicting an American performer whose life has become the stuff of legend.


Born to Jewish immigrants in 1891 on New York's lower east side, Brice was an agile, multi-talented performer who reinvented herself many times to adapt to trends in entertainment. From Vaudeville to Burlesque, and eventually in Florenz Ziegfield's Follies, she was savvy in finding ways to fit her unique looks and unconventional performance style into whatever venue would have her. She stunned audiences one night as a singer with a solo performance of My Man, dropping all the schtick and funny business that had been her signature. The depth of her vocal talent was revealed as she stood alone on the stage, passionately intoning the lament of a woman's enduring but unrequited love, a lament that she herself was living. The song became her signature and audiences thereafter clamored to hear her sing it.

If anyone has the acting and singing chops to re-create this role in 2019, it's Meghan Rose. Singing since toddlerhood, Meghan learned under the baton of her musical director father who would sing with her on a regular basis in their basement. The movie rendition of Funny Girl was a staple of her family entertainment. Through High School, then the Brind School at the University of the Arts (where she obtained a BFA in Musical Theater) and finally to the Big White Way, Meghan advanced her career, a career that has primed her for this role.

Cast in the Broadway National Tour of Annie, throughout the course of the year she did almost 300 shows in over 40 cities. A brief jaunt with television brought big challenges, and an exciting new environment, but the thrill of a live audience kept calling her back so she returned to the stage. In the midst of it all, she and her husband decided to have a baby so she moved back to Boston to be near family. With her little guy eight months old now, she's ready to get back on the boards which has turned out to be a stroke of luck for The Concord Players.

Clearly unafraid of taking on monumental challenges, Meghan was delighted to step into this role. "I was drawn to the role of Fanny Brice because of the immense challenge it brings. It's very vocally demanding and the music is quite diverse. Jazzy and brassy 'Cornet Man', beautiful ballads like 'People', big belty show stoppers like 'Don't Rain On My Parade', comedic whipper-snappers like 'Greatest Star', old-time musical theatre love duets like 'I Wanna Be Seen With You', mock opera in 'Beautiful Bride' - Fanny sings it all and she does it well and that's a rare and exciting challenge within one show."

Only a woman as multi-talented as Brice and Streisand could dare take on the role and Meghan surely is, but she is also prudent in her approach. "This role was so brilliantly executed by Barbra Streisand. Her performance is iconic," she says. "So when taking this on myself I understood that unless I completely took Fanny back to the drawing board and discovered her from scratch on my own, every note I sing and line I read will be echoing Barbara's choices in the audiences' mind." See what we mean? Smart cookie.

As all good actors do, Meghan has immersed herself in history to understand the real Fanny Brice. "To really tear the script apart and look into history and rediscover who this woman was and figure out how I could use my own life experience to tell her story is incredibly exciting," she notes, "but it's just what has to happen."

Guided by the words of one of our time's colossal artistic geniuses, she sets her path: "My favorite quote is 'Anything you do, let it come from you. Then it will be new. Give us more to see' by Stephen Sondheim." And that's how she will re-invent Fanny, who was, herself, the master of reinvention. "The success of playing an iconic role comes in your ability to rediscover it again for the first time. I love to take music and find nuances and meaning that no one has found before. That's why I do this. This is Meghan's version of Fanny which will be, and should be, a new discovery of this character."

Director Brian Kelly couldn't be happier. "With this show I want to create a wall of sound like nobody's ever heard before," he said, "and to re-create the world that Fanny lived in." To that end, he's cast a talented ensemble of performers to surround her, all of whom will bring the color and energy of her time to life. As for Meghan, "She's got everything it takes and more to live up to the challenge," he says. "I'm thrilled to have her in this role."

The feeling is mutual. "Working with director Brian Kelly is always a phenomenal experience," she says. "He is such an ingenious, intuitive, compassionate man. Being in a rehearsal space with him is so innovative and collaborative - it feels like you're really creating something unique and authentic together. He's brilliant."

"...give us more to see," says Sondheim. This fall, The Concord Players will do just that.

Performances run November 8, 9, 15, 16, 22 and 23 at 8:00 pm with matinees on November 10 and 17 at 2:00 pm. Tickets are $28.00 and can be purchased on-line, by email, or by calling the Box Office at 978-369-2990 and leaving a detailed message. Subscriptions for the entire season are also still available. All performances take place at The Performing Arts Center, 51 Walden Street in concord Center. The theater is handicapped accessible.

--Linda McConchie
BUSINESS AFTER HOURS EVENT
Concord Players will be hosting the Concord Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours event on Tuesday, October 15th from 6-7pm. Rub elbows with some of Concord's most prominent business movers and shakers, expand your business connections, and come take a tour of the hall, the stage, and the new facilities! 
YOU'RE INVITED!    
We'll kick off our 100th season with a giant birthday party.  And you are invited to join in on the festivities!  Witness the official town proclamation recognizing the Players' 100th. New-England-born writer and entertainer, Trav SD, will present a program about the early days of stage entertainment.  The cast of the fall show, Funny Girl, will perform two numbers in advance of its November opening.  And of course, we'll have hors d'oeuvres, spirits, and birthday cake to celebrate!   
 
Sunday, October 20th, 2019 | 7:00-9:00pm
Admission is free, but please do RSVP by October 8th by clicking here
ANNUAL HOLIDAY FESTIVITIES!
On Sunday, December 1st The Concord Players will be participating in Concord's Annual Holiday Tree Lighting and Parade (yes, it is Thanksgiving weekend).  The Players start their festivities at 3pm with an encore performance of a dramatic reading of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol by our own Johnny Kinsman at 51 Walden.
The Holiday Parade begins around 4:50pm for the short march to Monument Square followed by the tree lighting.  We are looking for people to represent the Players in the parade, in appropriately warm attire, and, of course, weather permitting.  Please contact Andrea Roessler at marketing@concordplayers.org to volunteer.
STAGE SOURCE EXPO 
Thhe Concord Players participated in Stage Source's 2019 Greater Boston Expo on September 10th at the Cyclorama in Boston.  Over 50 local theater communities were represented with over 400 attendees eager to discover what was being presented for the new theater season.  
 
 
Board Members Andrea Roessler and Carol Antos shared their excitement about the Players' 100th anniversary season and the crowds were in awe over the original poster from the 1919 production.
SAVE THE ROYAL DATE!
Photo Credit: Kai Chao | Instagram: @kaichaoboston
Your favorite fairy tale princesses and special guests are returning to Concord Players on Saturday, December 7th, for two events: a musical fairy tale meet-and-greet in the afternoon, and an adults-only "Pixie Dust After Dark" cabaret at night.  Save-the-date now!
WEST CONCORD PORCHFEST  
The Concord Players performed in the first annual West Concord Porchfest on Saturday, September 21st. The very talented Amanda Casale, Eric Dwinnells, Ryan Trapani-Goldberg, and Samantha Casale sang show tunes accompanied by Pat Bentley at the Harvey Wheeler Community Center from 4pm to 5pm.  
I WANNA BE AN USHER
Looking for a way to volunteer? Wishing you could see a show for free? The Concord Players are looking for Ushers and House Managers for our 2019-2020 season:   
 
Funny Girl (November 8-12, 2019), with Connie Benn, Front of House 
Barefoot in the Park (February 7-22, 2020), with Nick Miller, Front of House 
Steel Magnolias (April 24 - May 9, 2020), with Cheri Fletcher, Front of House  
 
Please email house-staff@concordplayers.org with your name and preferred dates and we will get back to you to confirm.
CONCORD PLAYERS MEMBER NEWS
Membership Payments Now Available Online: We are inaugurating an online system of membership payments this year! If you have received your membership renewal and haven't mailed it in yet, you can now do it online (no service fee)! Go to the Concord Players website, select Membership from the menu, and click on the indicated link. That will take you directly to the online page. (If you're not a member, now's the time to join! You can use the same link!) If you have any questions, please email membership@concordplayers.org. 

Legally Blonde: the MusicalConcord Players members Amanda Casale and Joshua Telepman have been cast as Elle Woods and Dewey/Elle's Dad/Ensemble, respectively, in the Footlight Club's November 2019 production of Legally Blonde: the MusicalGet your tickets now!
 
Young Frankenstein:  Craig Howard will be making a number of appearances (Inspector Kemp, Victor von Frankenstein, and the Blind Hermit) in the upcoming production of the musical Young Frankenstein.  Based on the classic Mel Brooks comedy, this hauntingly hilarious production is being presented by the North Shore Players of Danvers at the Hogan Regional Center, October 18-27.  BLUCHER!!! 
 
My Fascination with Creepy Ladies:  Anthem Theater's Assoc. Artistic Director, Johnny Kinsman, will be performing in a devised piece, My Fascination with Creepy Ladies, a Collection of Poe Horrors, Oct 17-Nov 3, 2019 in the Plaza Black Box Theatre at Boston Center for the Arts, 539 Tremont Street, Boston, MA.  Tickets are on sale now at www.bostontheatrescene.com. $26 for adults, $19.50 for students and seniors, with ID.     
 
Malone Dies:  Concord Player Thomas Caron, Artistic Director of Shanghai Shakespeare, whose production of Samual Beckett's Malone Dies had its American premiere at 51 Walden last year, has adapted it to video.  Check it out at www.shanghaishakespeare.com.  
 
 
Silent SkyConcord Players members Grace Sumner and Nick Miller have been cast in Quannapowitt Players' A Silent Sky, directed by Nancy Curran Willis with costume design by Kathy Booth.  Performances begin Sept 27th.
 
UPCOMING EVENTS AT 51 WALDEN
October 5, 2019 at 11a.m. and 2p.m.:  Concord Conservatory of Music presents children's concerts by Justin Roberts. His family concerts guarantee crowd participation, toe-tapping, and rhythmic swaying. Tickets $25/$15.  Buy tix
 
October 18 and 19, 2019 at 8p.m.:  The Concord Orchestra Fall Concert featuring a concert version of the opera Bluebeard's Castle by Bartok, with soprano Sarah Pelletier and baritone David Kravitz. In this gothic tale, Duke Bluebeard and his new wife Judith enter the great hall of his large, gloomy, chilly castle. The duke has a mysterious past and Judith notices seven locked doors; find out what is behind them! Also on the program is Haydn's Symphony No. 82, The Bear.
 
October 26, 2019 at 8p.m.: The Concord Band Fall Concert: Carnival of the Animals, featuring the famous piece by Saint-Saens. Also on the program is Hoedown from Rodeo by Copland, Sailors and Whales by McBeth, and Highlights from the Soundtrack of Jurassic Park by John Williams. The concert is free, donations gratefully received.
 
October 27, 2019 at 3p.m.: MCV, the Middlesex County Volunteers Fifes & Drums,  presents its first annual fall concert of fife and drum music at 51 Walden. Tickets available here.

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