The 2008-09 season at the intimate theatre 17 miles from Philadelphia will offer four subscription shows and two special attractions. Bud Martin is the new producing artistic director, Harriet Power is associate artistic director. The theatre seats 130.
The Olivier Award-winning Stones in His Pockets, directed by William Roudebush (Sept. 2-28), will be followed by:Magnetic North by William Donnelly, directed by Bud Martin, Oct. 21-Nov. 16. "In this new play, a Philadelphia premiere, a young husband meets a woman from his past during a period of crisis in his marriage, bringing half-forgotten urges and uncertain intentions suddenly to the surface. Between the lure of the past and the need for connection, four very real people struggle to make sense of mixed signals and how much truth they need, or want, to hear. Winner of the 2006 Clauder Competition for New England Playwrights, Magnetic North is a charged tale that explores the shadowy border between intimacy and temptation — told with warmth, humor and startling candor."Iron Kisses by James Still, directed by Harriet Power, March 10-April 5, 2009. "A heartfelt, contemporary look at the changing relationships between parents and children and the emotional ties that hold them together. Billy and Barbara — brother and sister — are nearing middle age, but they still have trouble finding common ground with their retired Midwestern parents. In a revealing theatrical twist, two actors portray both the siblings and their own mother and father, as they explore what keeps family members together as well as apart. Alternately heartbreaking and funny, this story is about the mysteries of family and about how the roles we play are as inescapable as they are comfortable. It's about people doing the best they can, how families evolve, how they grow up, and how they can surprise us — if we let them."
Respect: A Musical Journey of Women, book by Dorothy Marcic, music and lyrics by various artists, directed by Bud Martin, May 5-31, 2009. "A high-energy celebration of just how much women have changed — captured through the best songs of the past 100 years. Based on playwright Dorothy Marcic's 2002 chronicle "Respect: Women and Popular Music," this musical sends an enchanting range of American Top 40 hits aloft to tell the fascinating story of women's evolving roles and lives. As they go from co-dependence to independence — from 'Someone to Watch Over Me' to 'I Will Survive' and beyond, the women of Respect will remind viewers of their sisters, mothers, daughters, wives, and friends and selves — past and present. An entertaining and unique regional premiere!" Added onto the season are:Look Mom, I'm Swell! Tony Braithwaite's One-Man Show, Dec. 3-14. "Act II favorite and Barrymore Award-winner Tony Braithwaite (The Big Bang, Say Goodnight Gracie) combines his unique brand of humor, impressions and storytelling with original songs, special guests, and nightly improvisation in his popular one-man show."
The Philly Fan by Bruce Graham, conceived and performed by Tom McCarthy, Feb 17-March 1, 2009. "In this one-man, tour-de-force, two-time Barrymore Award-winner Tom McCarthy (last seen at Act II last season in Brothers-in-Law) takes audiences on a journey through Philadelphia's sports history of the last 50 years and the frustrations therein. The Philly Fan is an in-your-face, tell-it-like-it-is romp through the eyes of a hard-core sports fan that will have you rolling in the aisles." Stephen Blumenthal is founding artistic director of Act II. He passed to the reins to Martin in early 2008. For more information, visit www.act2playhouse.org.