Ithaca's Kitchen Serves Three Musicals in World Premiere, Comfort Food

News   Ithaca's Kitchen Serves Three Musicals in World Premiere, Comfort Food The Kitchen Theatre Company in Ithaca, NY, has cooked up a world premiere billed as Comfort Food, a trio of one-act musicals about repasts and relationships.

Performances on the Kitchen's intimate mainstage began Jan. 11 and continue to Feb. 10. The chefs at hand are Larry Pressgrove (music) and KTC artistic director Rachel Lampert (book and lyrics).

Directed by David Lefkowich, "Comfort Food tells three separate stories of dining, dating, dessert, and desire, performed by a stellar cast," according to Kitchen notes. "With tales from and in the kitchen, the play is filled with conversations and revelations that find people on the brink of change, as they do in kitchens everywhere."

The cast features Greg Bostwick, Steve Elmore, Norma Fire and Jessica Flood.

In part one, Harriet's Kitchen, "we meet Harriet Reziteppa (Jessica Flood), the host of a television cooking show called 'Sing for Your Supper.' As she cooks, instructs and sings, she shares tidbits about what's new in her life. There is always a segment about her upcoming wedding, only six weeks away, as well as special recipes for the holidays. Her usual free and breezy conversation takes a turn as she learns some unexpected news as she is about to go on air."

In part two, Doug's Kitchen, "Doug's (Greg Bostwick) recent quick split from his girlfriend was his idea but he's grappling with the fallout. The one thing Doug is sure of is that he will not have to endure his girlfriend's experimental cuisine any longer. It is 'back to basics' for Doug, free to eat all the forbidden packaged food he has missed. But that is not all he is missing. Through a series of odes and elegies to and about his most treasured sugar-filled and carbo-driven chow, he discovers the nourishment of life." In part three, Estelle's Kitchen we meet Estelle Abrams (Norma Fire) and Saul Gersten (Steve Elmore), both widowed, both born in 1935, but with little else in common except that Saul was a childhood friend of Estelle's husband, Joe. "Saul arrives unexpectedly at Estelle's apartment just a few days after New Year's Eve hoping to reconnect with his old friend. Thrust together, Estelle and Saul discuss their divergent memories of Joe and the new solo lives they lead. Change and healing are the main fare as Estelle prepares a dinner for two."

The writing team previously penned The Angle of the Sun and Tony & the Soprano, seen at KTC.

Rachel Lampert said in notes, "It has been great fun to work on these three short plays that all happen in a kitchen — kind of a wonderful theme-come-true for my 10th season at the Kitchen Theatre Company. This production takes our watchword 'important conversations happen in the Kitchen' to a new level of meaning."

Larry Pressgrove recently completed the musical direction and arrangements for [title of show] Off-Broadway at the Vineyard Theatre. He served for five years as conductor of the national tours for The Phantom of the Opera and Les Miz as well as music director for Cats on Broadway.

Rachel Lampert has been the artistic director of KTC since 1997 where her playwriting credits include The Angle of the Sun, Tony & the Soprano, Precious Nonsense, The Book Club, Waltz, Lampert Variations, Frankenstein, The Trial and The Soup Comes Last, plus KTC Family Fare productions of Rebecca Returns, The Mozart Mystery, The Odyssey, Winter Tales, I Have a Song to Sing O!, Emmett & Hambone, A December Suite, The Sisters Fitzenstarts, A Christmas Carol, Science Fair and Fools! Schmools!.

Her 1997 trip to China to stage West Side Story resulted in The Soup Comes Last, which premiered at KTC then moved Off-Broadway to 59E59 Theaters in 2004.

The creative team includes scenic and lighting designer Steve TenEyck, costume designer Hannah Kochman, stage manager Melissa Thompson and music director Richard Montgomery.

For more information about Kitchen Theatre Company, visit www.kitchentheatre.org.

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