The high-energy classic tale of the wily McMurphy and his band of colorful fellow inmates wreaking havoc at a mental institution.
KRISTI ARTINIAN (Sandra) is excited to be making her Hampton Theatre Company debut. NY Credits include: LYSISTRATA, THE BEAUTY QUEEN OF LEENANE, TONGUE OF A BIRD, TOP GIRLS, ROMEO AND JULIET, CLOUD 9. Shakespeare Theater of New Jersey: HENRY VI PART III. London Credits: MACBETH, MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING, KING JOHN. Film: Cold Sweat (with William Sadler.) Training: BFA from NYU’s Tisch School-Stella Adler Studio, Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. Visit www.kristiartinian.com
ANDREW BOTSFORD (Dale Harding) is a veteran of more than 30 Hampton Theatre Company productions since 1985. He appeared most recently as George Spelvin in THE ACTOR’S NIGHTMARE at last summer’s HTC benefit and as Flan in last spring’s SIX DEGREES OF SEPARATION. Favorite shows include GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS, EVERYTHING IN THE GARDEN, THE FOREIGNER, ORPHANS, NOISES OFF, THE DINING ROOM, SYLVIA, SOCIAL SECURITY and RUMORS. A resident of Quogue, Andrew is a member of the Hampton Theatre Company board of directors and the associate editor of The Press Newspaper Group, which publishes The Southampton Press Eastern and Western editions, The East Hampton Press, and The Press of Manorville and The Moriches.
EDWARD A. BRENNAN (Chief Bromden) made his Hampton Theatre Company debut last season as Ralph in the critically acclaimed production of FROZEN. His favorite professional credits include the title roles in PHANTOM and JEKYLL & HYDE, Owen in VOICES IN THE DARK, Ross in VISITING MR. GREEN, Beast in BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, Albin (ZaZa) in LA CAGE AUX FOLLES, Jamie in THE LAST FIVE YEARS, and Archibald in THE SECRET GARDEN. Ed holds a Masters degree in Theater and has directed over 30 productions on Long Island. He is the Artistic Director at Airport Playhouse in Bohemia and a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association.
ROSEMARY CLINE (Candy Starr) returned to the HTC after a long hiatus as Charlotte Hay in MOON OVER BUFFALO. After several years in NYC with various successes on the stage and small screen it is good to be home again where I began. Thanks to Sarah, Jean, our delightful backstage crew and my fellow cast members. My love to Christopher, Cashew and Carter… with a wink to Mom and Dad.
JAMES EWING (Scanlon, Set Design) founded the Hampton Theatre Company in 1984 and has since appeared in over 20 productions and built numerous sets. Favorite roles include Colonel J.C. Kincaid in THE OLDEST LIVING GRADUATE, Owen Musser in THE FOREIGNER, Artie Shaughnessy in THE HOUSE OF BLUE LEAVES, Nonno in THE NIGHT OF THE IGUANA, Tobias in A DELICATE BALANCE and all the many characters of THE DINING ROOM. He is happy to be returning to the stage in this terrific play and very proud of his truly gifted director and HTC Executive Director, Sarah Hunnewell.
TERRANCE FIORE (Dr. Spivey) made his debut with HTC as Larkin in last spring’s production of SIX DEGREES OF SEPARATION and is very happy to return to its stage again this year. Most recently, he appeared in ARSENIC and OLD LACE with the North Fork Community Theatre. An advertising industry veteran and marketing professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology, Terry began performing onstage in 2002 with the Heavenly Rest Players in Manhattan, where he appeared in THE FOREIGNER, MOONLIGHT AND MAGNOLIAS, ALARMS AND EXCURSIONS, SHADOWLANDS, SHAKESPEARE ON WAR, and dramatic readings of A Child’s Christmas in Wales and A Christmas Memory. Thanks to his wife Blair for her love and encouragement.
WILLIAM HARLEY (Billy Bibbit) is a recent resident to New York City. Since arriving, he has appeared in FLAMING GUNS OF THE PURPLE SAGE and HAMLET as a member of the Promethean Theatre Company. He played Mercutio and Paris in ROMEO AND JULIET and Aladdin in 1001 ARABIAN NIGHTS: THE STORY OF ALADDIN at Virginia Stage Company (VSC). Other work includes A CHRISTMAS CAROL at VSC, GROSS INDECENCY with The Workshop Theatre Group, and THE ADDING MACHINE at Christopher Newport University where he received his degree. He is also a certified Actor Combatant with the Society of American Fight Directors.
JESSICA HOWARD (Nurse Flinn) is so happy to be returning to the stage with HTC, especially with such a wonderful cast. Previous HTC productions include: PICNIC (Christine Schoenwalder), THE ODD COUPLE (Vera), THE OLDEST LIVING GRADUATE (Martha Ann Sickenger), STEEL MAGNOLIAS (Annelle), AH, WILDERNESS! (Muriel), and THE CRUCIBLE. Other roles include Portia in JULIUS CAESAR, Ophelia in HAMLET and the mistress in EVITA. But her favorite role is as one of the Howard Sisters, a singing trio. Love you guys! Much love to Seamus, and thanks to Mama, an inspiration. Hey Nanny Nanny!
LEONARDO LIGUORI (Martini) made his stage debut in the early 80s “up island,” then left the stage for film school in NYC and Hollywood where he appeared in the films Pretty Woman, The Hanoi Hilton, Tango & Cash and a few TV shows, including China Beach. He returned to Long Island to work with Spike Lee in Jungle Fever and went on to write, produce and direct some of his own low budget films. While in LA, Leonardo was part of a successful improv company where he and the troupe “killed ‘em” weekly with live, unscripted material. This will be his first time on stage since those improv days in the mid 80s and his first time acting, not stage managing, for HTC. He’s nervous as hell!
GEORGE A. LOIZIDES (Charles Cheswick) appeared with the company for the first time as George Aaronow in GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS and has directed BUS STOP, THE ODD COUPLE (Female Version), and PICNIC for the company. He is a member of the board of directors. George has been an actor and director for over 40 years. For 27 years he was Director of Theatre Arts for Ward Melville High School where he directed 81 productions. He studied acting and directing at HB Studio in NYC. Other acting credits include Axel in THE NERD, The Stage Manager in OUR TOWN, Dr. Lyman in BUS STOP, and Doc in WEST SIDE STORY. Other directing credits include PRIVATE LIVES, OUR TOWN, THE LARAMIE PROJECT, and several of Shakespeare’s plays. Thanks to HTC for the opportunity to work with such a fine company. Thanks to this cast and crew for the fun and the fine work. Thanks to Kathy.
BIRGITTA MILLARD (Nurse Ratched) has appeared with the Hampton Theatre Company as Angie in BREAKING LEGS and Agnetha in FROZEN and is honored to be back with a brilliant cast, a challenging play, and her favorite director. Theater credits include ALMOST MAINE, THE LOVE LIST (Justine), ACCOMPLICE (Janet/Erika), A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE (Blanche), THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES, BURN THIS (Anna), LAST OF THE RED HOT LOVERS (Elaine), CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF (Maggie), NOISES OFF (Belinda), LEND ME A TENOR (Diana), DEATHTRAP (Myra), BAREFOOT IN THE PARK (Corey), THERE GOES THE BRIDE (Polly), THE GOD OF ISAAC (Shelly), THE ODD COUPLE (Female Version) (Florence), DON’T DRINK THE WATER (Susan), and TWELFTH NIGHT (Olivia). Thank you for supporting Long Island theater. And have a great night. Unless you have other plans.
JOE PALLISTER (Randle P. McMurphy) recent credits include two productions at Center Stage at the Southampton Cultural Center—Juror #8 in 12 ANGRY MEN and Lee in TRUE WEST. He also played Father Flynn in DOUBT, Stanley in A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE, John Buchanan Jr. in SUMMER AND SMOKE, and Bill in LOBBY HERO with the Hampton Theatre Company. Other credits include recurring roles on both One Life to Live and Guiding Light. He has also appeared in several mildly-humiliating skits on Late Night With Conan O’Brien. Joe would like to thank his family and his lovely Minerva for providing the light in his life. Visit www.joepallister.com
ROGGIE PETTAWAY (Aide Turkle), professionally known a DJ Rah-G-Raj, will make his stage debut as Turkle. Born, raised and residing in Southampton, Roggie expands his abilities into the world of theater.
VINCENT RASULO (Ruckly) made his Hampton Theatre Company debut as the Hustler in last spring’s production of SIX DEGREES OF SEPARATION and is happy to return to the stage once again.
KEVIN REILLY (Technician) has been absent from the stage since his high school appearance in SPOON RIVER ANTHOLOGY. Since then he has worked as a graphic artist, a bartender and, most recently, a personal chef.
DALE WASSERMAN (Playwright) wrote more than 75 scripts for television, the stage and the movies, including screenplays for “The Vikings” (1958) and “A Walk With Love And Death” (1969). Most of his heros were spirited outsiders including the principle characters of his most famous Broadway hits, MAN OF LA MANCHA and ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST. Mr. Wasserman died in 2008 at the age of 94.
KEN KESEY (Author of the Novel) was best known for his novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1962) which was adapted into this play and the award-winning film starring Jack Nicholson, and as a counter-cultural figure who considered himself a link between the Beat Generation of the 1950s and the hippies of the 1960s. His second novel, Sometimes A Great Notion (1964), was made into a film starring Paul Newman. In 1994, he wrote and performed in a musical about the millennium, TWISTER, A RITUAL REALITY.
SARAH HUNNEWELL (Director/Producer) is thrilled to be directing again and to work on this wonderful and challenging play. Previous directorial forays with the company include THE OLDEST LIVING GRADUATE, EVERYTHING IN THE GARDEN, FUDDY MEERS, PROOF, SUMMER AND SMOKE, THE RAINMAKER, A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE, A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE, BREAKING LEGS and last season’s SIX DEGREES OF SEPARATION. Many thanks to her wonderful and talented cast and crew for bringing this show to life.
SEBASTIAN PACZYNSKI (Lighting Designer) first worked with the Hampton Theatre Company when he designed the company’s 2003 production of SUMMER AND SMOKE at Guild Hall and has designed all the company’s productions since PROOF in 2004 as well as the theater’s new lighting system. He has designed lighting for theater, dance and special events in a number of Broadway, Off Broadway, Off Off Broadway and regional venues. He has also worked in film and television as the director of photography. He has designed numerous productions for Guild Hall and for the Hamptons Shakespeare Festival.
MARY-ALYCE VIENNEAU (Set Decor, Properties) dressed the sets for the company’s productions of MAURITIUS, GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS, THE OLDEST LIVING GRADUATE, MOON OVER BUFFALO and THE ODD COUPLE, directed last season’s production of FROZEN and has appeared in numerous productions. When not in the theater, she runs her business, Mary’s Garden.
TERESA LEBRUN (Costume Designer) is the resident costumer for the Hampton Theatre Company and has designed costumes for all the company’s recent productions. Teresa has also costumed for Spindletop Productions at Guild Hall. Much love to her boys Josh and Noah.
JEAN PLITT (Stage Manager) returned to Westhampton in 1980 and joined this fledgling theater company for its first production, THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK, in 1985. She was asked to be the stage manager and said, “Okay, I’ll do that… but what does the stage manager do?” She’s “come a long way, Baby,” as they say, and has never looked back. Following an eight year hiatus, she has been backstage again for the past two years and looks forward to many more shows. “Every production creates a new ‘family’ of actors, crew and volunteers which come together to create vibrant, living theater. There is nothing like it!”
ROB DOWLING (Lighting & Sound Technician) has done lighting and sound effects for 18 years at the North Fork Community Theater, Vail-Leavitt Music Hall, Producer’s Club (NYC), the Loft Theater at Dowling College and the Southampton Cultural Center. This is Rob’s fourth season with the Hampton Theatre Company. He is very happy to be part of the show and the company.
by Lee Davis
“One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” Dale Wasserman’s 1963 stage adaptation of Ken Kesey’s novel, is a powerhouse of a play, and it’s currently being given a powerhouse production—particularly in its second act—by the Hampton Theatre Company in Quogue.
If the Jack Nicholson-Louise Fletcher bout to the finish in the movie version doesn’t quite occur in the play, the original novel is done greater service away from the star battle and into the more sensitive structure of the stage version. This doesn’t mean that sparks don’t fly and ignite in the onstage re-creation of this tense melodrama about cruelty, repression and the struggle for power. They do, constantly.
Mr. Wasserman does throw his players and director a curve early in the play, which takes place in the day room of a psychiatric hospital. About 10 minutes into it, free soul Randle P. McMurphy enters the scene, eyed by a distrustful and distracted group of patients. The lights go down on that scene and come up again after a brief tone-setting monologue, and suddenly, without any development whatsoever, he’s the center of appreciation and the mover and shaker of the ward.
Well, this momentary leap of time and belief is a small quibble in an otherwise gripping evening of good and in several cases, fine acting in a substantial, disturbing and ultimately touching play.
Director Sarah Hunnewell has kept the action moving and the performances concentrated. There is a decision that could be questioned, and that’s the one to give each of the inmates significant tics. The device works when and if the tics seem to come from within the character, as they do flawlessly and naturally in the case of James Ewing’s portrayal of the incendiary Scanlon. Every eruption and tic rises to the surface in his character with a believable certainty. And the Christ on the cross inaction of the lobotomized Ruckley, played in mostly silent convincingness by Vincent Rasulo, is likewise authentic.
But the other tics of the other characters seem, alas, layered on, which gives them the unfortunate appearance of caricatures rather than characters, at least in the first third of the play. As the action moves forward, the tics subside, and the characters emerge considerably more convincingly and humanly, with much less distraction. The same problem arises with the character of Dr. Spivey, played with good balance by Terrance Fiore in the latter three quarters of the play. In the first third, he appears as a burlesque MD, marginally less disturbed than his patients.
All of the above are, I’m sure, transitory difficulties that, as the performances settle in and become more subtle, will disappear, for the level of direction and acting is, as it is in all recent Hampton Theatre Company productions, uniformly high.
David Adams, as the sadistic Aide Williams, is suitably nasty, although his verbal delivery sometimes descends into the unintelligible. Jessica Howard is an obliging Nurse Flinn, Kevin Reilly a businesslike shock therapy technician, and Roggie Pettaway a boozy and obliging Aide Turkle.
Rosemary Cline once again proves the adage about no small parts by giving the imported and tarty Candy Starr a near star turn, and Kristi Artinian as her sidekick also spices up the riotous party scene nicely.
William Harley as a stuttering and suicidal Billy Bibbitt, George A. Loizides as a distracted and insecure Charles Cheswick, and Leonardo Liguori as the smilingly neurotic Martini, undergo comfortingly natural evolutions into enormously sympathetic characters.
Andrew Botsford as Dale Harding, the least psychotic and most intelligent patient, delivers a solid and absorbing performance once he overcomes his opening staging and a mysterious, fortunately disappearing, accent. From here forward, it’s a natural and rewardingly satisfying characterization.
As Nurse Ratched, Birgitta Millard creates a strong, if somewhat softened performance as the symbol of an unforgiving, immutable and dispassionate authority. She masks her cruelty behind a grim smile that last Friday sometimes seemed a little too forgiving, but which will certainly sharpen by next weekend.
The two star performances of the evening belong to Edward A. Brennan, as the towering Indian Chief Bromden, and Joe Pallister as the free thinking and wheeling and seemingly unconquerable Randle P. McMurphy.
Mr. Brennan’s portrayal of the severely wounded warrior is given the connective narrative that raises the play from reality to allegory. Given the hallucinatory images of an all consuming, all powerful thrashing machine, a combine that squelches all individuality and subsumes it into an absolutely compliant society, he delivers the poetically passionate word pictures with a quiet, substantive force that’s hypnotic and moving in its relentless power.
“One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” continues at the Quogue Village Theater on Jessup Avenue on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights at 8 and Sunday afternoons at 2:30 through April 11. Call 1-866-811-4111 or visit our TICKETS page for ticket reservations or call 631-653-8955 for more information.
by Steve Parks (Newsday)
Director Sarah Hunnewell and her obsessively nuanced Hampton Theatre Company ensemble honor the cruel classic “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” at Quogue Community Hall, antiseptically outfitted on James Ewing and Mary-Alyce Vienneau’s state mental hospital set.
Small-time convict Randle P. McMurphy, played by Joe Pallister with a hunky, can’t-help-himself exuberance for life’s mischievous opportunities, has agreed to serve his sentence in the mental ward so he can avoid prison-farm labor. He realizes too late that his release is dependent on the whims of a neutered doctor (Terrance Fiore) and a manipulative nurse. Birgitta Millard imbues Nurse Ratched with such dismissive cool that you’ll believe she’s bloodless.
“Inmates” Andrew Botsford, William Harley, George Loizides, Leonardo Liguori, Vincent Rasulo, Ewing and Edward Brennan (delivering mystical soliloquies as The Chief) each contribute to “Cuckoo’s” humor and heartbreak – literally shocking at times.
Gallery images by Tom Kochie