Monday, June 20, 2016

Trilogy Repertory Presents 'The Rainmaker' at Pleasant Valley Park

Trilogy Repertory Company will continue Bernards Township’s Plays in the Park summer season with N. Richard Nash’s “The Rainmaker on July 29, 30, and August 4, 5, 6.  The play will be presented at the outdoor amphitheater at Pleasant Valley Park in Basking Ridge.
 The play, set in a drought-ridden western state during the 1930s, tells the story of a hot summer day in the life of spinster Lizzie Curry whose brothers try to marry her off with little success, worrying both about her future and the fate of their cattle ranch  With no relief from the drought in sight, a charming, sweet-talking rainmaker, Starbuck arrives out of nowhere with the promise to bring rain for $100.  His arrival will have a profound effect on Lizzie’s life.
  Directed by Hugh Wallace of Bernardsville, the ensemble cast features Nancy Jeanne McBride of Bernardsville, Peter Curley of Maplewood, Mark Szabo of Parlin, Richard Butler of Piscataway, and Bill Ward, Michael Giangreco and Hank Barre of Basking Ridge. 
“The Rainmaker” opened on Broadway in 1954, with Geraldine Page and Darren McGavin. It was revived in 1999 with Woody Harrelson.  The 1956 movie starred Burt Lancaster and and Katherine Hepburn, who earned an Academy Award nomination for her role as Lizzy.  A musical version, “110 in the Shade,” opened on Broadway in 1963, receiving four Tony Nominations; the 2007 revival starred Audra McDonald.
The partnership of Trilogy Repertory and Bernards Township has produced over three decades of family entertainment and achieved several awards for both groups for excellence in theater programming.  Most prominent are the awards from ACT (Achievement in Community Theater) and the prestigious “Excellence in Cultural Arts Programming.”  “The Rainmaker” is made possible, in part, by support from New Jersey State Council on the Arts, and is presented through special arrangement with Samuel French.
“The Rainmaker” will be presented at the outdoor amphitheater at Pleasant Valley Park, Valley Road (next to the Veterans Hospital at Lyons), Basking Ridge, on July 29, 30, and August 4, 5, 6,  at 8:00 pm.  Admission is free, but donations are gratefully accepted. Bring lawn chairs or blankets for seating. For the time of a paralyzing drought in the West we discover a girl whose father and two brothers are worried as much about her potential future as an old maid as they are about their dying cattle. For the truth is, she is indeed a plain girl. The brothers try every possible scheme to marry her off, but without success. Nor is there any sign of relief from the dry heat, when suddenly from out of nowhere appears a picaresque, sweet-talking man with quite the sales pitch. Claiming to be a "rainmaker," the man promises to bring rain, for $100. It's a silly idea, but the rainmaker is so refreshing and persistent that the family finally consents, banging on big brass drums to rattle the sky. Meanwhile the rainmaker also turns his magic on the girl, and persuades her that she has a very real beauty of her own. She believes it, just as her father believes the fellow can actually bring rain. Rain does come, and so does love. An excellent play for all groups., call 908-204-3003.

Photo: Starbuck and Lizzie:  William Ward (Starbuck) of Basking Ridge and Nancy Jean  McBride (Lizzie) of Bernardsville 

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