With the production, the company officially becomes the resident professional theatre on the Pace University Briarcliff Manor campus in Westchester County, north of New York City. A lecture hall there has been converted into a 134-seat theatre, with a temporary stage deck that has a stage-left wing entrance attached to a hallway that will become a backstage area. A projection booth is now the stage manager's nest, and light towers are being used until an assessment can be made about installing a grid, said producing partner Denise Bessette, a co-founder of HSC with Dan Foster and Olivia Sklar.
HSC has used the Pace room in Woodward Hall for readings in the past, but now they will call it home for full productions. The university will also use the room when HSC isn't filling seats.
This is thought to be the first time a Westchester university has given a home to a professional Equity theatre company.
HSC's next full staging is expected in October, but readings and other events are expected there as well.
Bessette said HSC's residency at the Briarcliff Manor campus was made possible with the passion and advocacy of Pace University's director of cultural affairs David Watson, associate provost Dr. Beverly Kahn, associate provost Dr. John Sharkey, provost Dr. Joseph Morreale and president David Caputo, among others in the Pace community. The Westchester Arts Council also supports the efforts of HSC. Eric Henry Sanders' new play Where's Annie? was previously heard in a reading by HSC, and was developed by Lark Play Development Center in its BareBones series in Manhattan in fall 2004.
HSC bills the play as "a divinely dark comedy with an American Gothic twist." Steven Williford, resident director at the Lark, directs an HSC cast that includes Ron Holgate (who won a Tony for the original 1776 and also starred in Broadway's Kiss Me, Kate and Annie Get Your Gun revivals and Lend Me a Tenor), Lois Markle (Broadway's True West) and Christy Meyer.
Performances play Fridays-Sundays April 1-17.
According to HSC, "On Golden Pond meets Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? in this play that explores the mystery of an older couple's relationship with each other and their vengeful granddaughter."
Actress Lois Markle was seen on Broadway in the Sam Shepard hit True West, in Steppenwolf's acclaimed production of Grapes of Wrath, the national tour of Edward Albee's Three Tall Women, and Off-Broadway in Curse of the Starving Class.
Young actress Christy Meyer has appeared at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, at New Georges, Ensemble Studio Theatre and the Adobe Theatre in New York City, and is a recent graduate of Northwestern University.
Designers are Andrew Gmoser (lighting and technical consultant), Joseph Egan (set), Edi Giguere (costume), Jon Kadela (sound). Music is by Robert Murphy. Jason A. Quinn is production stage manager.
Playwright Sanders teaches screenwriting at Hampshire College, and his work has been seen across the country at venues including the Cherry Lane Alternative in Manhattan, Victory Gardens in Chicago and at the Road Theatre in Los Angeles.
Director Williford has worked Off-Broadway at Manhattan Theatre Club, Ensemble Studio, and Rattlestick, regionally at Long Wharf Theatre, and as a contract director of the long-running soaps "As the World Turns" and "The Guiding Light."
HSC produces under the Actors' Equity Association Small Professional Theatre (SPT) agreement. In its six years, HSC has produced over 50 staged readings of new plays, the New York premieres of the provocative drama Full Bloom by Suzanne Bradbeer, 37 Postcards, a comedic farce by Michael McKeever, and the world premieres of the original musical True Home by Cass Morgan with contributing composers including Steven Schwartz and Jeanine Tesori, and the drama Baltimore Star by David Wiener.
Performances of Where's Annie? play Woodward Hall Theater, Pace University, 235 Elm St., Briarcliff Manor campus in Westchester, April 1-17. Showtimes are Fridays and Saturday at 8 PM, Sundays at 3 PM, with additional matinee on Friday April 8 at 3 PM. Admission is $25 (general admission), $20 for seniors/students, $15 for Pace students/employees with ID.
Q & A sessions follow the matinees April 8 and April 10.
For tickets and more information, call the HSC hotline at (914) 271-2811 or visit the website at www.hudsonstage.com.
Information on HSC events at Pace University and other Pace events can be found, along with directions to Pace, at www.Pace.edu/culture.