We had two - count 'em - two dress rehearsals today. It was nice to see the play as a whole today with no stops for tech along the way. The first run, this afternoon, was also when our photographer T. Charles Erickson took the production photos. You'll get to see those starting Monday - and it will then be clear why we hire Charlie - his photos are amazing. The slightly fuzzy ones here are mine.
This evening we played to a nice crowd of nearly 200 friends and family cheering everyone along, including Huntington favorite Michael T. Weiss, the parents of actor Brooks Ashmanskas, the parents of costume director Nancy Brennan (thanks for coming all the way from the west coast to visit us), our Front of House crew, and many other staffers.
We've had costumes (by designer Mariann Verheyen) on stage now for the past three days - and they are looking incredible. I had to head off to a meeting during photo dress so I only got you a few shots of Act I. When we get Charlie's photos I'll do a costume feature. For now I'll just give you a little taste.
Here we have three of Gary Essendine's dressing gowns; a paisley, a deco print, and (of course) an animal print. No self respecting thesp could possibly tour Africa without their stripes, now could they? As you can see he's not the only one who wears them. Above we have Holly Fain, who plays the ingenue, Daphne Stillington, who stayed the night. On the right is Victor Garber (playing Gary Essendine), and below is Victor again, with Brooks Ashmanskas playing Roland Maule. These fabrics are beautiful, playful, and work so well with both the character and the scenery.
The next two are a close ups of both Brooks and Lisa Banes, who plays Gary's ex-wife Liz Essendine.
I love the combination of the striped sweater (with alternate stripes on the v-neck and the subtle knitted striped at 90 degrees for even more texture), print bow tie, and shoes. It's a hoot! In case you're wondering - the character Roland Maule is something of a nut, and he is ALWAYS in motion, hence the blurry foot above. Brooks got applause on his first exit this evening.
Lisa wears a simple striped silk fabric. The stripe, however, takes on new shapes and patterns in the dress. The clothes, in general, make great use of simple graphics - much like the deco murals on the wall. It's amazing what happens to stripes, polka dots, and prints, when they are cut, draped and pleated in different combinations on the human form.
I'll leave you with another image of the set - before the run we took a few 'glamour shots'. Can you spot the differences from the pictures from a few days ago?
Click on the photos to see enlargements. I've added a few Present Laughter links here. Enjoy - see you at the theatre soon!