A shooting. A séance. Fondue.
In the tradition of Kieron Barry’s THE OFFICIAL ADVENTURES OF KIERON AND JADE, Bridge Street presents the world premiere of yet another brand-new comedy – this one by Michelle Carter, whose HOW TO PRAY was a big audience favorite during BST’s 2017 Season. In Carter’s new play BETTER, coming to BST for eight performances only September 12-22, 20-year-old Emily’s life is turned upside down when her mother commits a shockingly violent act. She leaves school, takes a job at a fondue restaurant, consults a medium, and, like the good student she’s always been, searches for answers. How will she be able to endure her pain? What might she be capable of? Does she deserve happiness? And will things ever get better?
This quirky comedy on serious subjects will be directed by Sara Lampert Hoover (BST’s “Frankie & Johnny in the Clair de Lune”), and features actors Montana Lampert Hoover as Emily, Brian Linden as Emily’s dad Ben, Lori Evans as Medium Molly (a down-to-earth clairvoyant), Carla Lewis-Ruig as Luisa (Emily’s co-worker at The Melting Pot Fondue Restaurant), and Eric Fleising as Emily’s boyfriend Michael. The production will also feature an original musical score composed by Catskill’s Rodney Alan Greenblat! Sets and lighting will be designed by Bridge Street Artistic Director John Sowle, with costumes by Michelle Rogers, and sound by Carmen Borgia. Production Stage Manager is Joshua Martin. Production costs for this world premiere have been underwritten in part by a generous gift from Rachel Lampert.
“Michelle Carter’s plays remind me so much of those unconventional, off-beat streaming comedy series so many of us binge on,” says Bridge Street Theatre Artistic Director John Sowle. “She takes on serious subjects (the aftermath of a school shooting, in this case) and deals with them in such a light-handed, humanizing way that it utterly disarms audiences, helps them let their guards down, and opens their hearts. You never see the violence that drives this play onstage – you merely witness the affect it has on the family the perpetrator leaves behind. And what a privilege to have Michelle here during the rehearsal process and for the first few public performances! We’ll even be holding an onstage Q&A session with her following our ‘Pay What You Will’ performance on Thursday September 12. Folks who saw Michelle’s ‘How To Pray’ at our theatre back in 2017 will need no encouragement to visit her world again.”
BST co-founder Steven Patterson concurs. “Not only is this a terrific new play, but the production has turned out to be a real family affair. We’ve got the great Sara Lampert Hoover, who helmed our production of Terrence McNally’s ‘Frankie & Johnny in the Clair de Lune’ so brilliantly back in 2018, in the director’s chair. When we saw her daughter Montana Lampert Hoover at the NY Fringe last year in ‘The F#@%ing Wright Brothers’ by David Zellnik (whose ‘The Letters’ we premiered earlier this year), we immediately knew she’d be ideal casting as Emily – and she is, she is. And, since we want to make sure we do this incredible new play justice, we’ve hired a larger than usual complement of Equity actors, and THAT was made possible by a welcome donation, specifically for that purpose, from Sara’s sister (and Montana’s aunt) Rachel Lampert, who only recently retired after 20 years as the Artistic Director of the adventurous Kitchen Theatre in Ithaca, NY. Our audiences will also recognize Lori Evans from her performance here as Marjory/Mallory in ‘The Moors’. The three remaining cast members will all be making their Bridge Street Theatre debuts, though we’ve known and loved Brian Linden’s work since our San Francisco days. And to have Rodney Alan Greenblat creating an original score for us is simply the cherry on top of the sundae.”
“Better” is recommended for audiences ages 13+ and plays Thursdays through Saturdays at 7:30pm and Sundays at 2:00pm from September 12 – 22, 2019 on the Bridge Street Theatre Mainstage, located at 44 West Bridge Street, in Catskill, NY, just a block and a half west of Main Street across the Uncle Sam Bridge, which spans Catskill Creek. Eight performances only. General Admission is $25, Students 21 and under are only $10. Discounted advance tickets are available at better.brownpapertickets.com or by calling 800-838-3006. Tickets will also be sold at the door one half hour prior to each performance on a space available basis. “Pay What You Will” performances will be held on Thursday evening September 12 and Sunday afternoon September 15 (“Pay What You Will” tickets are available only at the door one half hour prior to those performances For more information, visit the theatre online at BridgeSt.org/better/. Don’t pass up the chance to experience this eye- and heart-opening new comedy in its world premiere!
Events at Bridge Street Theatre are supported in part by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature and by Public Funds from the Greene County Legislature through the Cultural Fund administered in Greene County by the Greene County Council on the Arts.
Bridge Street Theatre presents
The World Premiere of
by Michelle Carter
with Montana Lampert Hoover*, Carla Lewis*, Brian Linden*, Lori Evans, and Eric Fleising
Directed by Sara Lampert Hoover
Sets and Lighting by John Sowle
Costumes by Michelle Rogers
Original Score by Rodney Alan Greenblat
Sound by Carmen Borgia
Production Stage Manager: Joshua Martin
September 12 – 22, 2019
Bridge Street Theatre Mainstage
44 West Bridge Street, Catskill, NY
Thursday September 12 @ 7:30pm (“Pay What You Will” preview, with a Q&A with the playwright immediately following the performance)
Friday September 13 @ 7:30pm (Opening Night, with reception to follow)
Saturday September 14 @ 7:30pm
Sunday September 15 @ 2:00pm (“Pay What You Will” performance)
Thursday September 19 @ 7:30pm
Friday September 20 @ 7:30pm
Saturday September 21 @ 7:30pm
Sunday September 22 @ 2:00pm (Closing performance)
Advance tickets available at http://better.brownpapertickets.com or by calling 800-838-3006
General Admission $22, $10 for students ages 21 and under
Tickets can also be purchased at the door prior to each performance (on a space available basis) for $25, $10 for Students ages 21 & under.
“Pay What You Will” tickets are available only on the day of performance and go on sale at the door one half hour before curtain time.
Photo Credit: John Sowle