Happy Groundhog Day!! Yes, it’s Feb. 2, the day we find out how much longer winter will last – at least, if you believe the groundhog. Since I’m writing this BEFORE the actual day, I can’t tell you the outcome, but if my weather app is correct, and Thursday is overcast, then the groundhog won’t see his shadow, which means spring is on the way! Woo hoo!! I’m going to choose to believe that’s what will happen, even though this really has been the winter-that-wasn’t. And I’m OK with that.
But even if spring is around the corner, it’s still winter now, and we all need to find ways to bide our time until the trees blossom. You are in luck, because one of those ways is to enjoy a fine theater experience, and the Concord Players are happy to provide that right here in town. Yes, their winter show, Amateurs, by Tom Griffin, opens next Friday night, Feb. 10, with their usual opening night party. These parties have become legendary, what with the food, drink and festive atmosphere they provide, right before they usher you in to see a live show.
And this show should be VERY entertaining: it’s described as “part black comedy, part heartbreaking tragedy.” The setting is the opening night party at a community theater – how very appropriate, eh?? The cast has just put on a musical about undertakers, and now are kicking back and celebrating. It has plot twists and comedic bits and pretty much gives you a snapshot into the intriguing lives of theater folk. Not to say that art completely mirrors life, but still, interesting to ponder.
I talked to Corinne Kinsman, who, along with Anne Bantly, is producing the show, and one thing she did warn is that this show is an “adult” comedy. She felt it would be fine for both middle and high school students, but parents should be warned that there is some rough language – probably nothing they haven’t heard, but still, good to be aware. And the comedy is pretty dark.
What I think is cool is that Corinne’s grown-up son John Kinsman has one of the leads in this – he’s an actor with professional experience, having lived in New York and LA before moving closer to home with his wife Lindsay, who also grew up locally. I first met John when he was in high school, performing with the Players in Lysistrata; he did a hilarious turn one night as a eunuch when one of the leads showed up with laryngitis, and needed John to voice her lines for her. Yes, he was talented even then.
Corinne told me that John cut his acting teeth at Concord Youth Theater when he was barely 10, performing in every show until he graduated from CCHS, and then coming back during college when they needed an adult actor. Nowadays John drives a Duck Boat; the highlight of his job was getting to drive in the Duck Boat parade for the Stanley Cup-winning Bruins last year. He’s a huge fan, as well as a hockey player himself, so that was really cool.
Corinne is loving that he’s in this show, because she gets to see him more than usual. So instead of just stopping into the occasional rehearsal, she shows up every night. “The cast makes Anne and me laugh every single time,” she told me. “That’s a sign of a good show.”
The other actor with a Concord connection in this show is Katie Blair, who has worked both onstage and off for the Players for years. You’d never believe how many to look at her. She is supremely talented and turns in a beautifully layered performance.
If you’ve never been to a Players’ show, you are really missing out. They provide a level of professionalism to knock your socks off. Really, they rival anything you’d drive into Boston to see. They are blessed with local talent like Allen Bantly, who designs sets and then builds them. And Tracy Wall, who can design costumes like nobody’s business. So it’s not just the talent onstage, but behind the scenes as well, that provides an overall excellent theatrical experience.
With all that said, here are the crucial details: the show runs Friday and Saturday nights at 8 p.m. over three weekends from Feb. 10 to 25. They have one matinee on Feb. 19 at 2 p.m. For all the important info on actually buying the tickets, click here and click on tickets.
And consider going opening night: they’ll be serving hors d’oeuvres and desserts and a fabulous champagne punch. You can pretend you’re part of the cast, enjoying your own cast party. It’ll be a blast, I promise.
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