Double post today. Looks like Treat will be a busy bee. Not only is he starring in the Hallmark series of films CHESAPEAKE SHORES, but he’s also scheduled to take the stage in a production of MAN OF LAMANCHA at the Weston, Vermont playhouse.
Weston’s 2016 season reflects growing national stature
Weston Playhouse has been “breaking a leg” for 80 years and will be celebrating with not one, but two gala seasons. The summer 2016 season will begin the celebration, opening with “Man of La Mancha” starring Treat Williams, and feature the long-running Broadway hit “Mamma Mia!”
“There are barely more than a dozen theaters in the country that have achieved that (80 year) standing,” Producing Artistic Director Steve Stettler explained in a phone interview.
“Happily for Weston, we’ve got to that point where our age starts to look equal to our accomplishments,” he said. “More important than that is that this needs to be a celebration not so much of our past but of our future.”
The 2016 main stage season also includes “Round and Round the Garden,” the third play in British playwright Alan Ayckbourn’s comic trilogy, and the Arthur Miller classic “All My Sons,” continuing Weston’s American Masters series. The intimate Other Stages productions, including the annual children’s show, will be announced when details have been confirmed.
The company is also in the midst of a $10 million capital campaign to create a year-round cultural center for retreats, workshops and performances on its village campus. For its second year of celebration, Weston hopes to open its Walker Farm arts center, including a state-of-the-art studio theater, in 2017.
Weston Playhouse Theatre Company is Vermont’s oldest professional theater company and has long been the benchmark for the state. But, more and more, with its top-notch productions such as last season’s “Guys and Dolls” and “The Glass Menagerie,” and its development of new musical theater, Weston is seen as competitive nationally.
“This is a vibrant and important company that is making a major contribution in its own home state and region, but is increasingly making work that is recognized on a national level,” Stettler said.
Part of Weston’s success comes from its “Vermont values.”
“What’s really special about Weston is we have the combination of a high level of artistry and a high level of humanity,” Stettler said. “There are a lot of companies around the country that do really good work and are not fun places to be on the inside. And there are plenty of places around the country — which Weston was — that are not doing the work that they would like to or should, but are creating family.
“Weston is finally at the point where it’s doing both. And I can say that with huge confidence,” he said.
The main stage season will open with “Man of La Mancha” (June 28-July 16), starring Williams. Having launched his career with the Broadway production of “Grease” and the film version of “Hair,” Williams will return to the musical stage as Cervantes/Don Quixote under the direction of Tony winner Wayne Cilento (“The Who’s Tommy,” “Wicked”).
“Treat is so pumped about doing this piece and bringing his friend Wayne Cilento, who is Broadway royalty as much as Treat is industry royalty,” Stettler said. “That Weston gives them a playground for them to do this together is just so exciting for them and for us.”
In collaboration with Dorset Theatre Festival and White River Junction’s Northern Stage, Weston will produce “Round and Round the Garden” (July 21-30), of the “The Norman Conquests.” The three companies will share a cast and creative team in bringing the trilogy to life, encouraging audiences to follow the exploits that take place in and around an English country house on a summer weekend.
Weston is one of the first regional theaters to secure the rights to “Mamma Mia!” (Aug. 4-20), one of the longest running shows in Broadway history, a feel-good musical based on the songs of ABBA. Producing founding director Tim Fort (“42nd Street,” “Les Misérables”) reunites with choreographer Michael Raine (“Guys and Dolls,” “A Chorus Line”) to deliver this blockbuster.
Continuing its five-year American Masters series, Weston celebrates Miller’s 100th birthday with “All My Sons” (Aug. 25-Sept. 4). Director Mary B. Robinson (Weston’s “Copenhagen”) will be at the helm of this Tony-winning play. It will include lectures, a statewide teachers workshop, school matinees and a performance at the Flynn Center in Burlington.
“This is a portrait of a company that I’ve always wanted us to be, that we’re finally beginning to show that we are,” Stettler said. “This coming season gives a picture of where Weston playhouse is — and where it’s going.”
For further details about the Weston 2016 season, sign up for the company’s eNews at www.westonplayhouse.org.