Home Entertainment Playhouse celebrates 80th anniversary with all-star reading of ‘The Torch-Bearers’

Playhouse celebrates 80th anniversary with all-star reading of ‘The Torch-Bearers’

Becky Ann Baker, Dana Ivy, Marsha Mason, John Rubinstein, Ginna Le Vine and more slated for readings in New Hope on March 13

The Times

Source: Bucks County Playhouse

A star-studded cast led by Becky Ann Baker (HBO’s Girls), five-time Tony-nominee Dana Ivy (Off-Broadway’s original Driving Miss Daisy), four-time Oscar-nominee Marsha Mason (The Goodbye Girl) and Tony-winner John Rubinstein (Children of a Lesser God) will star in a benefit reading of The Torch-Bearers for Bucks County Playhouse.

Performances will be held in New York at the Westside Theatre on Monday, March 11 at 7 p.m. and at Bucks County Playhouse in New Hope on Wednesday, March 13 at 7 p.m. The reading is the first of three benefit readings that will mark the Playhouse’s 80th anniversary.

The Noises Off of its day, The Torch-Bearers was first presented at the Bucks County Playhouse in 1949 in a production that featured the playwright’s niece, Grace Kelly. At the time, Grace was making her professional acting debut at the age of 19. For the March readings, Ginna Le Vine will follow in her great aunt’s footsteps and play the same role Grace played.

Tony- and Emmy-nominated stage and screen actor, Dylan Baker, will direct the readings. Paul Mullins will co-direct. The Torch-Bearers continues BCP’s Play Discovery Reading Series, which launched late last year. The series is curated by Mason and is designed to expose audiences to lesser-known classic plays, as well as new works. For the 80th anniversary season, Mason has chosen to take a look at the Playhouse’s storied history, and will feature plays that have significant meaning to it. Additional titles will be announced shortly.

George Kelly’s 1922 comedy The Torch-Bearers focuses on a hapless group of amateur theatricals as they rehearse, and ultimately perform, a show-stopping new play. The comedy has a special place in Playhouse history as it was the professional debut of a young Grace Kelly, who was an acting apprentice at BCP for the 1949 summer season.

While Baker and Rubinstein will be playing Mr. and Mrs. Ritter, and Mason and Ivy the ladies in charge, Mrs. J. Duro Pampinelli and Mrs. Nelly Fell, they will be joined by John E. Brady (Newsies) as Teddy, Sue Brady (All in the Timing) as Jenny/Clara Sheppard, Philip Goodwin (The Pink Panther 1 and 2) as Mr. Twiller, Le Vine as Florence McCrickett, Michael Rogers (The Mosquito Coast) as Mr. Spindler, and Zachary Wyatt (Red) as Mr. Hossefrosse. Justin Phillips plays the stage manager and handles stage directions.

The March 13 reading of The Torch Bearers will take place at Bucks County Playhouse and will be followed by a post-show discussion with the cast. Tickets are $20. The March 11 reading in New York City will be at the Westside Theatre. Tickets are $20 general admission. A limited number of VIP tickets are available for the New York reading for $75. VIP admission includes a post-reading reception with the cast. Tickets for the New York event must be purchased in advance. Tickets are not available for purchase at the Westside Theatre box office or at the venue the night of the show.

Tickets for both evenings can be purchased at BucksCountyPlayhouse.org or by calling 267–740–2090. Bucks County Playhouse is located at 70 S. Main St., New Hope. Westside Theatre is located at 407 W. 43rd St., New York.

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