One of the more popular plays on the regional circuit, John Henry Redwood's The Old Settler, finishes up its current mounting at Boston, MA's Lyric Stage Company, Nov. 21. Previews began Oct. 22 for the play, which officially opened Oct. 27.
A warm-hearted, bittersweet comedy about middle-aged black ladies who take in a handsome boarder, the play was embraced by critics in its previous presentations at NJ's McCarter Theatre, CT's Long Wharf Theatre and Virginia Stage before reaching Off-Broadway's Primary Stages Theatre in late 1998 in a production starring Leslie Uggams and Lynda Gravatt. Jacqui Parker and Monique Nicole McIntyre star alongside Ricardo Engermann and Maria Fenton in the Boston staging, which is designed by Kristin Loeffler (costumes), Janie E. Howland (set) and Christopher Ostrom (lighting).
Director Lois Roach previously staged Having Our Say at the New Repertory in Newton, MA.
Redwood's comedy-drama about Harlem in the 1940s was recognized with a special citation from the American Theatre Critics Association and won the 1995 Beverly Hills Theatre Guild/Julie Harris Playwriting Award and Virginia Duvall Mann Playwriting Award.
According to Redwood's play, the title refers to a woman, 40-plus, whose prospects for marriage are basically nil. The author based his story on his mother and aunt, who shared a home after his father died. "I used to watch them bicker about little minor things and they would go on and on," he said. "I wanted to capture the love of these two sisters over time." For tickets and information on The Old Settler at Boston's Lyric Stage, 140 Clarendon Street, call (617)437-7172. Next Up: opening Dec. 3, the musical, She Loves Me.
-- By David Lefkowitz