Directed by Robert Walsh, Fighting Over Beverley is a romantic comedy set in Gloucester and telling the story of a love triangle among three septuagenarians: Beverley, who came to America from England as a war-bride; Zelly, her Gloucester fisherman-husband; and Archie, the Brit she jilted 53 years earlier. Archie arrives in Gloucester to reclaim his lost love.
Elliot Norton Award winner Sandra Shipley returns to Gloucester Stage to play Beverley, the English war bride; Paul O'Brien plays husband Zelly; Denise Cormier plays Beverly and Zelly's adult daughter; and Paddy Swanson plays Archie, Beverley's jilted British suitor.
Fighting Over Beverley is part of Horovitz's popular series of North Shore Massachusetts-based plays that includes The Widow's Blind Date, Park Your Car in Harvard Yard and Gloucester Stage's 2009 season hit Sins of the Mother.
Horovitz told Playbill.com on Aug. 24, "I wrote this play some years ago — 1991-ish — and we did the initial production at Gloucester Stage. Paddy Swanson, who's British and now old enough to play Beverley's British suitor, was the original director of the play. Fighting Over Beverley was then done at The Fountain Theatre in Los Angeles, starring Priscilla Pointer and Robert Symmonds... It ran for several months at the Fountain and transferred to the Odyssey Theatre. Stamford TheatreWorks then did the play with Elizabeth Wilson, who was remarkable... I then did the play on BBC Radio 4 in England... Rosemary Harris (also remarkable) played Beverley, I played her husband and Elizabeth McGovern played our daughter.
"There was then a Broadway option that never materialized as a show... I got busy with other plays and sort of forgot Beverley until last year, when the play was done in Westchester by the Hudson Stage Company. My wife and I went to see a performance and we both remembered how fond we were of the play. I did a medium-sized rewrite, resetting the play in the 1980s, just after Tony Blair's election and Diana Spencer's death. I gave the revised script to Eric Engel and he agreed to do the current production at Gloucester Stage, and I also gave it to Lou Tyrrell, who agreed to do the play at Florida Stage in winter. I was contracted to direct. My play was to ready the play for another attack on New York City. Of course, Florida Stage has tragically closed its doors, so, Gloucester Stage is, for the moment, it." GSC is at 267 East Main St., in Gloucester, MA. For reservations or further information, call the Gloucester Stage Box Office at (978) 281-4433 or visit www.gloucesterstage.org.
After Paradise, a unique benefit for the not-for-profit Gloucester Stage Company will be held on Sept. 11, with a film presentation followed by a reading by former GSC artistic director Israel Horovitz. It will represent the New England premiere of the 9/11-related solo plays Three Weeks After Paradise and Ten Years After Paradise.
GSC explains it this way: "On Sept. 11, 2001, the Horovitz family was frighteningly close to the terrorist attacks on the World Center. 15-year-old Oliver Horovitz was a student at Stuyvesant High School, just across the West Side Highway from the Twin Towers. For three hours, his parents didn't know if their son was dead or alive. Three weeks after the attacks, Israel Horovitz emailed a text he had written entitled Three Weeks After Paradise to people he'd been working with around the globe, saying, 'This is the reason I'm late getting my pages to you...etc.' He also sent it to friends in many countries, saying, 'This is what it's like, just now, living in lower Manhattan.' Within days, theatres around the world presented Horovitz's text as a monoplay on stage. A few months later, Horovitz made an award-winning film of the text which was shown on Bravo Network, as well as on television networks around the world. Ten years later, Horovitz has created a kind of second act, entitled Ten Years After Paradise, discussing the effects of 9/11 on the world today. The world premiere of Three Weeks After Paradise was presented two months ago in Biarritz, France. The Gloucester Stage event begins with the award winning film [rather than a live version of the script] and then Horovitz will read Ten Years After Paradise live on stage in Gloucester."
The After Paradise evening begins at 8 PM. The reading will be followed by a discussion with Horovitz and Gloucester Stage artists. Admission is $20. For reservations, call (978) 281-4433 or visit www.gloucesterstage.org.
The Gloucester Stage Company's mission "is to present the highest quality professional theatrical productions and thus contribute to the cultural, economic and educational development of Cape Ann." The Gloucester Stage Company was co-founded in 1979 by Geoff Richon, Denny Blodgett, and award-winning playwright Israel Horovitz as a "safe harbor for playwrights and new plays."
During its first 20 seasons the GSC successfully realized its mission with the production of more than 35 world premieres, 15 American premieres, and 25 New England premieres.
Horovitz stepped down as artistic director after the 2006 season but continues as a prominent member of the artistic company. In 2007, Eric Engel became the company's second artistic director.