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August 26, 2009

Lock Up Your Puppies! Rachel York Stars as Evil Dog-Napper Cruella De Vil

Drama Desk Award-winning film, television and Broadway actress and singer brings iconic villainess to life on stage in new “101 Dalmatians” musical. Watch Rachel discuss her deliciously demonic role on YouTube.

Rachel YorkRachel York has gone to the dogs. That’s right! From October 2009 through June 2010 the usually canine-cuddling animal rights activist explores the dark side of puppy love when she stars as the world-famous, larger-than-life, dog-napping demon Cruella De Vil.

York, a Drama Desk Award winner for Victor/Victoria, plays the delightfully diva-ish, super-villainous, spotted fur monger Cruella in the national tour of The 101 Dalmatians Musical. With stops in Chicago, Los Angeles, Boston, Miami, Atlanta, Washington, DC and the WaMu Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York, the 25-city tour launches on October 13 at the Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis.

The 101 Dalmatians Musical is a brand new family entertainment based on the beloved 1957 novel by British author Dodie Smith. Not associated with the Disney movies or cartoons in any way, this production, like the novel, is told from the dogs’ point of view. Humans are presented on a heightened scale to make them seem grotesque and other-worldly when compared to the more “humane” Dalmatians and their other animal friends. According to York, “There is no limit to Cruella’s treachery – and yet, you can’t help but love her.”

Music and lyrics are by the legendary singer and composer Dennis DeYoung, former pianist and lead vocalist for the rock band STYX. In 2008 DeYoung won Chicago’s prestigious Jeff Award for his musical The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Cruella De VilBook and lyrics are by B.T. McNicholl (Billy Elliot), with choreography by Warren Carlyle (A Tale of Two Cities). Director is the acclaimed Jerry Zaks, four-time Tony Award Winner for Guys and Dolls, Lend Me a Tenor, Six Degrees of Separation, and The House of Blue Leaves. Zaks was also Tony nominated for directing Smokey Joe’s Café and the Broadway revivals of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and Anything Goes.

York is best known for her critically acclaimed Broadway performances in City of Angels, Les Misérables, Victor/Victoria (Drama Desk Award) with Dame Julie Andrews, The Scarlet Pimpernel, Sly Fox with Richard Dreyfuss, and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels co-starring Jonathan Pryce. Most recently, she starred opposite Jeff Daniels in the world premiere of the Broadway-bound musical Turn of the Century at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago. She also turned heads on television with her courageous portrayal of Lucille Ball in the CBS movie, Lucy.

Additionally, York has starred in the national tour of Camelot (Carbonell Award) opposite Michael York; Putting It Together (Drama Desk nomination) also with Julie Andrews; the national and London tours of the Tony Award-winning Broadway revival of Kiss Me, Kate (Helen Hayes and IRNE nominations); Dessa Rose at the Lincoln Center Theater (Drama Desk nomination); Anything Goes (Ovation nomination); Hello, Dolly!; My One and Only; Ragtime; Evita; Summer of ’42; Summer and Smoke; Crucifer of Blood with Billy Crudup;Dalmatians and The Odd Couple with Jason Alexander and Martin Short.

The creative team of The 101 Dalmatians Musical promises an exciting grand finale that features 15 real Dalmatians. Undoubtedly, by the time the pack of heroic pups finish with Cruella De Vil, Rachel York will be barking, “Who let the dogs out?”

Producers for The 101 Dalmatians Musical are Magic Arts & Entertainment/Tix Productions, Troika Entertainment, and Luis Alvarez. Name sponsor is Purina Dog Chow. For tickets and a complete tour schedule, visit The 101 Dalmatians Musical website. For more information on Rachel York, visit her official website at www.rachelyork.net.

August 19, 2009

Broadway’s Danielle Ferland Accentuates the Positive in BCT Master Class

The original “Red” in Stephen Sondheim’s “Into the Woods” shares her wit and wisdom with 100-plus students of the Boston Children’s Theatre Summer Studio Program held at The Governor’s Academy in Byfield, Massachusetts

Danielle FerlandAt the age of 38 – and seven months pregnant – Danielle Ferland still has the youthful twinkle in her eye that made her portrayal of Little Red Riding Hood in the original 1987 Broadway production of Into the Woods so iconic and memorable. Now a veteran of more than a dozen Broadway and Off-Broadway productions including A Year with Frog and Toad, Sunday in the Park with George, The Crucible, and the York Theatre concert reading and recording of Summer of ’42, the savvy Ferland enjoys teaching as much as performing.

Recently the talented actress, singer and director, whose latest main stem appearance was in last season’s much heralded revival of All My Sons with Katie Holmes, conducted a spirited Master Class for the Boston Children’s Theatre (BCT) of Massachusetts. With major doses of wit and wisdom, Danielle shared her career history and insights with more than 100 Boston area students enrolled in BCT’s advanced Summer Studio Program.

Accepted via a formal audition process, the students, ranging in age from eight to 19, receive training and pre-professional musical theater experiences from BCT’s Executive Artistic Director Burgess Clark, Associate Artistic Director Toby Schine, and guest artists such as Danielle. This year BCT conducted the advanced Summer Studio Program on the campus of The Governor’s Academy in Byfield. The oldest, and one of the most distinguished, boarding schools in America, the Academy is home to a professional-quality, state-of-the-art Performing Arts Center that presents year-round full-scale student productions and a major professional celebrity series.

Presilah Nunez and Danielle FerlandBroadwayWorld.com sat in on Danielle’s recent Master Class at the Academy and later chatted with her about the art of making art in today’s economy. In an age where theater arts programs are being decimated by deeper and deeper budget cuts, and live performance time competes with the internet, cell phones, video games and mp3 players, it’s exciting to see a 58-year-old not-for-profit children’s theater company and a 246-year-old private high school join forces to give aspiring young artists the time and tools they need to build on their dreams for the future.

BWW: Danielle, you really are fabulous working with these kids. You know exactly what they want and need to hear, and you relate to them so well. What do you hope to give to students by doing master classes like this?

Danielle: My goal is to have them have great experiences, especially with funding being cut and schools struggling to provide programming. Math and science aren’t the only things that are important. Art is so valuable in so many ways. It brings learning down to the personal and emotional level. It brings people together. It humanizes us. I hope to do more of this. A lot of programs want me to come to talk and teach.

BWW: The stories you are sharing with these students can really serve as life lessons, not just career advice. How did your personal philosophy and balanced perspective develop and evolve?

Danielle: Since I was on Broadway at the age these kids are now, I can really connect with them. I come from a very grounded, human place and can bring them a practical reality. My mother was not a stage mom. She and my family helped me keep my basic values in tact. I have been able to fashion a lifelong career by knowing who I am and not getting caught up in the fame game. I don’t really love the attention, which sounds strange coming from an actor. But it’s true. I don’t necessarily want fame. Oh, it would be nice to work steadily and not have to audition anymore, but it’s not about me being in the spotlight. It’s about the challenge of the work.

Danielle Ferland and Katy GeraghtyBWW: Having success so young can be a problem. Some child stars are one-hit wonders who outgrow their “cuteness” while others can’t handle the fame and fortune and self-destruct. Did you have to fight off “handlers” who perhaps wanted to control your image and steer you into a certain direction with your career?

Danielle: There was one agent early on who said we didn’t strike while the iron was hot and that’s why I’m not a huge star! She was from a big management firm and was mean to me. So that’s why I left her. I wanted to graduate from high school and go to college at NYU. I wanted to study the classics and be more well rounded. Would things have been different if I’d listened to her? Would a hit TV show have changed me? I don’t think so. I am who I am. And I really like my life.

BWW: In your “relationship advice portion of the program,” you told the kids that it’s very important not to marry someone in the business. Why is that?

Danielle: Well, this business is hard enough as it is. It’s very competitive. So it’s important to have a supportive environment to go home to. Even my son, Noah, who’s in kindergarten, just wants to be there for me. He has no interest in getting up on stage himself. When his class did a show recently, I asked if he didn’t just want to try it, and he said, ‘Mom, you can’t do the play without the audience.’ Isn’t that great?

BWW: Sounds like your family provides you with great balance.

Danielle: It’s really important to have a personal life. It will get you through the down times. I didn’t marry till I was 31, even though I met Michael when I was 25. I was on the road, concentrating on my career, etc., but I wasn’t always successful. I got depressed at times, especially when I was alone. Now I have a family to focus on, and my next major role is to deliver! We know it’s going to be a boy. And Noah has already named him – Nino. I said, ‘Noah, we can’t name him Nino. That would be like naming him Table.’ Can you imagine? Nino Goldstein? That’s my husband’s last name!

To read the complete interview at BroadwayWorld.com, click here.

PHOTOS BY JAN NARGI: Danielle Ferland; Presilah Nunez and Danielle Ferland; Katy Geraghty and Danielle Ferland

August 06, 2009

Richard Kind and Liz Larsen: This Guy and Doll Got Chemistry

Broadway veterans Richard Kind and Liz Larsen bring delightful off-stage sizzle to their roles as the lovable Nathan Detroit and the lovelorn Miss Adelaide in the sparkling production of ‘Guys and Dolls’ now in its final week at the Ogunquit Playhouse in Ogunquit, Maine

Richard Kind and Liz Larsen“Chemistry.” The intangible ingredient that makes relationships sizzle. The magical word that gambler Sky Masterson uses when telling missionary Sarah Brown how he’ll know when he’s found the right doll.

It’s also the perfect word to describe the crackling energy between Broadway pros Richard Kind and Liz Larsen as they light up Ogunquit Playhouse’s sparkling production of Guys and Dolls now in its final week at the venerable Maine summer resort theater. Playing the lovable lug Nathan Detroit and his lovelorn fiancée Miss Adelaide, Kind and Larsen bounce off each other deliciously with the sort of irresistible irritation that only long-married couples typically display.

This dynamic duo’s heat registers both onstage and off, as witnessed in a recent BroadwayWorld.com interview conducted at the theater on one of this summer’s rare sunny afternoons. Seated side by side on the outdoor patio of the rustic playhouse’s idyllic seacoast grounds, Kind and Larsen bicker playfully, interrupting each other’s thoughts and finishing sentences as if they have known each other for years. In fact, the co-stars had never worked together prior to Guys and Dolls. According to Richard, however, they have always admired each other from afar.

“Yeah, right,” Liz quips sarcastically. “Richard said, ‘Oh, Liz, I saw you in ‘Baby.’ You were terrific.’

“Yeah, I was great, wasn’t I?” she teases. “He was very excited when he heard I was doing (Guys and Dolls) because he thought I was Liz Callaway. Then when I got here he had to pretend that he knew who I was.”

“That’s just not true,” says Richard. “It was backstage at Hairspray when I called you Liz Callaway. But I knew who you were because your name was on the playbill. I just got confused. (This next to the interviewer) You know, I’ve told her how much I like her talent and how beautiful and great I always thought she was. But it will never get into that thick brain of hers. I know she’s not Liz Callaway.”

When asked how they’ve been able to forge such a great relationship for themselves and their characters in just two short weeks of rehearsal, they state that it’s just the nature of the beast. In summer stock a show has to get up on its feet quickly. The luxury of fine-tuning and delving deeply isn’t afforded until after the third or fourth performance.

“We had our opening on a Thursday and I told the director that the show won’t find its pace until Saturday night,” says Richard. “And that pretty much was the case. It’s tough to do art under these circumstances. We just get it as good as it can get.”

Liz LarsenAccording to Liz, the process has been a little easier with Guys and Dolls than with, say, Evita, which she once did with only seven days of rehearsal. The reason? Quite simply, she states, this Abe Burrows-Jo Swerling-Frank Loesser masterpiece really is “the perfect musical.”

“All you have to do is tell the story and show up and not fight the material,” she says. “With so many new plays and musicals that I’ve done in workshops, you’re in a battle with the piece itself, trying to make it work, trying to make the character mean something. With this show it’s such a relief to just let yourself walk where the play takes you.”

“It’s a matter of staying out of the way of ruining the play,” Richard concurs. “Although,” he adds sheepishly, “I sort of do impose my own concept in a couple of places.”

“Yes, you are very bossy,” says Liz. “He’s very bossy.”

“Well there are two things in the thing that I…” Richard begins.

“Two things in the thing?” Liz interrupts playfully.

“…in this show,” Richard emphasizes, “that I rethought a little bit.”

“You mean moments…” Liz offers.

“And some that she disagrees with,” Richard rebuts.

“Which ones?” Liz demands.

“Shall we get into it?” Richard challenges.

“If you want to, yeah,” Liz retorts.

Given the green light, Richard goes on to describe how he has come to view Nathan’s duet with Adelaide, “Sue Me,” as an escalating scene.

“When I first approached it,” he explains, “I just wanted to get laughs. I didn’t know the song or the play well enough to understand its full implications. As we started rehearsing the choreographer said to me, ‘During the first Adelaide, Adelaide, you’re yelling at her and it’s so not that. It’s an absolute imploring.’ The reason is that for the first time I’ve told the truth and she’s getting angry! So now as puppy doggish as I can I say, ‘No, Adelaide, Adelaide, it’s true, I have to go. I do have to go to a prayer meeting. I know you don’t understand but I do, I do!’ It’s almost breathy. ‘Adelaide, Adelaide.’ And then the second one becomes, ‘Stop it, stop it, you harpy!’ (Richard and Liz both laugh.) No, I’m kidding. That’s only about this, that isn’t about Adelaide.”

After the exchange of a few brief verbal jabs with Liz, Richard goes on to differentiate his pratfall toward the end of “Sue Me” from Nathan Lane’s in the 1992 revival. Whereas Lane fell face down on his stomach in response to physical blows from his Adelaide (Faith Prince), Richard falls on his back, supine, all fours in the air like a surrendered spaniel.

“People don’t go down on their stomachs,” Richard says emphatically. “They just don’t fall that way. I’m also one of those people who say that people don’t stand up on tables. I know it’s done in musical theater all the time, but it’s not my cup of tea. So I said, ‘No, no, no. I’ll go down on my knees and that’s it.’ Then it escalated to falling on my back because of what happens in performance. Now I totally thrash about out of absolute frustration over this woman. I’m so upset and I know the audience feels the frustration, too, because I am telling the truth and why doesn’t she listen? But she’s right so it’s absolute frustration! But then I finally do say, and it’s pure and simple, (softly) ‘I love you.’ Originally I think it was done with a big bellow, ‘I LOVE YOU.’ I mean, screaming across to her! But we’ve changed that. We’ve absolutely rethunk that moment. Now when she walks away it’s not just her walking away from Nathan. It’s walking away with a sense of self. We came up with that working together mutually in the rehearsal room.”

Another reinterpretation that Richard prides himself on comes toward the end of the play when Nathan and Sarah have their one and only scene together. “Ah, geez,” Liz interjects. “You’re going to bring that up?”

“No, I don’t have to,” Richard demurs.

“No, go ahead, bring it up,” Liz dares. Then after a pause she explains, “Richard has a concept that this one moment in the show is about him and its not.”

“No,” he defends. “It’s about me and Sarah. Nathan says something that I believe is directed to her even though it’s usually performed as if it’s just something that he’s talking about and has no connection with her. IRichard Kindt’s his line, ‘I made a bet with a guy and I shouldn’t have done that, but it doesn’t matter because I lost the bet.’ I believe that Nathan says this for a reason. Nathan knows that this woman was supposed to go to Havana. He also knows that Sky just made a bet and risked a lot of money on one roll of the dice to get 12 men into the mission. So he sees that Sky is emotionally connected to this woman. I’m not a stupid man. I may be clownish, but I’m not stupid. So I have put two and two together and say to Sarah, ‘I did a terrible thing.’ I connect with her and I say, ‘I made a bet with a guy and I shouldn’t have done this, and I’m sorry.’ And then I go, ‘Eh, you know what, it didn’t matter because I lost the bet.’ She goes, ‘You lost?’ And I go right back to her and go, ‘Sure, he told me he did not take her to Havana.’ ”

“Even though you know he did,” the interviewer comments.

“Now what makes you say that?” Richard asks attentively as he sits straight up in his chair. “The argument I get from these guys (gesturing toward Liz) is, ‘How do I know she went to Havana?’ I say Nathan has to know. Of all the things he could bring up in his life at this very moment, why does he bring up losing the bet right in front of her? The only time I’ve ever seen the show it was played as just a flibbertigibbet moment, a plot point. But I don’t believe that Abe Burrows would just write a plot point. I believe there’s got to be a reason for Nathan to say this.”

Richard continues, making his closing argument as if a prosecutor pleading to a jury, “The first time I ever told the truth was when I said I was going to a prayer meeting. The first time I ever did something that gave me no benefit was telling Sarah that I lost the bet. It’s a purely selfless moment and I am doing it to help her. Nathan has grown up this night. It’s what enables him to go on to open the newspaper stand. The end.”

Satisfied that he has made his case, Richard sits back and crosses his arms. When the interviewer agrees with his interpretation, he practically takes a bow. “Thank you,” he beams. “There you go. You may put that in writing.”

Eyes rolling and head in her hands, Liz groans, “You’ve ruined my life. There’ll be no living with him now.” And to Richard, “You look like a serial killer when you lean into Sarah and stare at her. You take so long. It stretches things out. By this time the audience just wants to go home. Just get to the plot point already and be done with it.”

Obviously joking, Liz actually loves the way she and Richard work together. Because of the vibrant chemistry they so clearly share, she says she has been able to dig more deeply into the psyche of Adelaide than she did the first time she played the part a few years ago.

“In that production the director was also the choreographer, so I never felt like we had the time to do the necessary scene work,” Liz states. “Here, even though we only had two weeks to rehearse, we made use of that time very efficiently. Adelaide is such a rich character. You find something new each night and each time you play her. I think I would jump at the chance to play her again anytime anyone asked. It’s a role I have wanted to play since high school.”

During Liz’s senior year, Guys and Dolls just happened to be her school’s big annual musical. But Liz wasn’t cast as the hapless Miss Adelaide. Oh, no. Instead she played Arvide Abernathy.

“Can you imagine?” Liz recalls. “They changed the role to Arvida. I still sang ‘More I Cannot Wish You,’ even in the same key. I was out there in age makeup and a gray wig. I was hateful. There’s no picture, thank God. I was so mad.”

Asked if they feel that people can gain a true appreciation for the brilliance of Guys and Dolls if their only exposure to the show is through less than stellar high school productions in which Arvide becomes Arvida, Liz and Richard are quick to respond. Since the show is so good, they believe it can be appreciated on any level.

“Musical theater is the original American art and it just doesn’t get better than this,” says Liz. “There are a few musicals that just have the magic of interwoven book, lyrics, and music – Gypsy, Fiddler on the Roof, West Side Story. There are a few quintessential examples of the best that we’ve got, and Guys and Dolls is certainly in the top five. My son’s middle school did it and all the kids went to every performance. So I think on any level it works.”

Richard believes that exposure to, not necessarily appreciation of, the art of musical theater is what matters for “unenlightened” audiences. Beyond pure delight and enjoyment, parsing into the technical aspects is just gravy.

“The other day I played golf with this guy who raises horses, and he’d never seen a play before in his life,” says Richard. “So I invited him and all he could do after seeing the show was go, ‘Oh, man, when she was hitting you, oh, man, you went down! Oh, man, did I laugh when that bird came down.’ And so on. He’d never seen a play before in his life, and he loved it.”

It’s that excitement and connection with a live audience that keeps Liz and Richard coming back to the theater despite success in film and television. For Liz, it’s the chance to play roles like Evita, Adelaide, Cleo in The Most Happy Fella, Annie in Annie Get Your Gun, Trina in Falsettos, or Dot in Sunday in the Park with George. For Richard, it’s the draw of roles like Max Bialystock in The Producers, Foxwell J. Sly in Sly Fox, Dr. Pangloss in Candide, or Addison Mizner in Bounce.

“In the case of Nathan Detroit,” says Richard, “it’s a role I’ve always wanted to play. I decided to take it here and now because yesterday was the last day I was young enough to play him. I felt like it’s either now or never.”

With a twinkle in his eye but a deadpan tone of voice, he adds, “I also was attracted to playing opposite Liz. When they ran down the list of people they were considering and came to Liz Larsen I said, ‘Oh, she’s not just a fantastic choice but I also adore her.’ When her name came to the table I said, ‘Thank God it’s someone who can sing.’

“Of course, now I realize that’s because I thought it was Liz Callaway.”

There are still a few more days to catch Richard and Liz (Larsen’s) act at the Ogunquit Playhouse. Guys and Dolls continues through Saturday, August 8. For a complete schedule of show times and ticket prices, visit http://www.ogunquitplayhouse.org/. Tickets are $41 to $60 and are available online or through the box office at 207-646-5511.

PHOTOS: Richard Kind as Nathan Detroit and Liz Larsen as Adelaide; Liz Larsen; Richard Kind


Actresses Spark “The Breath of Life”

Two of Boston’s best dramatic actresses square off at Gloucester Stage in David Hare’s unsettling confrontation between a wife and mistress coming to terms with the fallout of their choices

Paula Plum and Nancy E. CarrollThere’s a lot to digest in British playwright David Hare’s relentlessly unromantic two-hander The Breath of Life which recently ended its limited engagement at the Gloucester Stage in Gloucester, Mass. But if you enjoy thought-provoking theater directed and performed impeccably well, you can make a meal and a half on this biting drama.

Two of the region’s most formidable actresses, Paula Plum and Nancy E. Carroll, star as staid pulp novelist Frances Beale and unconventional museum curator Madeleine Palmer, the spurned wife and sardonic mistress of the much talked about but never seen barrister Martin. When this self-absorbed philanderer decides at mid-life to toss over both wife and lover for a barely legal girl from Seattle, Frances finally takes action. She boldly invades the remote, rundown Isle of Wight cottage where Madeleine has taken refuge and insists on conducting “research” for the memoirs she intends to publish. Over the course of the next harrowing 24 hours, Frances and Madeleine share history but not empathy as they reluctantly retrace the 25 years they each have spent separately loving Martin.

One could argue that Hare has drawn his women as obsessive and needy, unable to let go and move on after being jilted by someone they both knew was chronically unfaithful. But that would be an overly simplistic view of two uniquely complex individuals whose choices in the distant past have mapped out their futures, for better or worse. Frances, a traditionalist, chose home and family, despite her husband’s constant ridicule and rejection. Madeleine, an impassioned activist and feminist, settled for a part-time partner, taking up an affair with Martin when a chance meeting 15 years after their contentious Civil Rights fueled one-night stand rekindled a spark that apparently had never died.

Plum and Carroll navigate the treacherous shoals of their characters’ confrontation expertly. They shift power back and forth strategically like in a chess match, alternately withholding then revealing information as if secrets were incendiary weapons. Carroll relishes in Madeleine’s knowledge of Frances’ intimacies with Martin while Plum calculates to find the Achilles’ heel in Madeleine’s aloof self-assurance. Once a late-night snack of take-out Indian curry and several bottles of beer loosen their defenses, a brief lapse into humorous sisterly camaraderie erupts into barbed accusations that ultimately – but not completely – lead to resolution.

Nancy E. Carroll and Paula PlumInterwoven throughout the women’s personal exchanges are pointed commentaries on art, politics, society and family. Written and set in 2002, the play has a reflective post 9/11 feel to it with Hare, through Madeleine, indulging in caustic observations about America and Americans. In addition, Madeleine’s ceaseless idealization of the 1960s – a time of protests, free love, and deeply passionate commitment to a cause – only heightens her bitterness over the pragmatism that her contemporaries now exalt. The reserved Frances becomes the butt of Hare’s inside jokes about writers and the “art” of playwriting. Not only is she accused of chronicling rather than experiencing life, but when she hesitates to push Madeleine for the answers she so desperately desires, Madeleine challenges her to “write” the necessary climax to their escalating encounter.

Such intrusions of Hare’s own voice into the dialog at times dilute the tension between his characters. His self-conscious superimposed cleverness also tends to minimize the very impact his play is trying to make. But Plum and Carroll have developed such finely etched interpretations, and director Eric C. Engel has paced their delivery so precisely, that they create far more spark on stage than Hare has written on the page. The actresses’ chemistry is palpable. Plum and Carroll rivet attention even when the play tends to lose focus.

Jenna McFarland Lord’s richly detailed set immediately transports us to the battered island shores off the coast of England. Weathered wood clapboards and faded, peeling wallpaper suggest the ravages of sea spray and time. Cluttered floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, a dining room table stacked with papers, and haphazardly tossed knit throws reveal an owner more interested in work than leisure. A wrap-around downstage window seat with cutaway shingled and sea grass exterior provides ample room for pensively gazing out over the dunes.

The masterful Paula Plum and Nancy E. Carroll are the breath of life in this Gloucester Stage production. Hare’s material may be dense, but their performances are remarkably fluid.

PHOTOS BY SHAWN HENRY: Paula Plum as Frances and Nancy E. Carroll as Madeleine; Nancy E. Carroll and Paula Plum

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