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FROM THE FOOTLIGHTS
April 2002

The Frontiers of Science 

In the 19th century, a new scientific theory captured the public imagination. That theory, spiritualism, holds that living humans can communicate with spirits of the dead. Proponents included journalist Horace Greeley, evolutionary biologist Alfred Russel Wallace, & Sherlock Holmes novelist Arthur Conan Doyle.

Spiritualism seizes the Footlights Thursday, April 18, when our "Arts and Sciences" series continues with "Blithe Spirit" (1941), by Noel Coward. In "Blithe Spirit," a skeptical novelist seeks a model for a fictional charlatan. So he hires a medium, with surprisingly spooky results. "Remarkably funny" (New York Times), even "hilarious" (New York Post), "Blithe Spirit" is "delicious" (New Republic), "ingenious" (New York Daily News), & "brilliantly clever" (New York Journal-American), "an almost pure delight" (New Yorker).

Our meeting will feature Tim Vasen, resident director at Baltimore's Center Stage. Since earning his MFA from the Yale School of Drama, Vasen has taught acting at New York University & directing at Princeton. At Center Stage, he has directed "Macbeth," "The Glass Menagerie," & "Three Tall Women," among many others. His production of "Blithe Spirit" opens April 12. 

Make reservations by calling 202-898-4825 (24 hours/day) or e-mailing gruenberg@footlightsdc.org. We will meet at Delray Vietnamese Garden, 4918 Del Ray Ave., Bethesda (301-986-0606). Dinner begins at 6:30 p.m.; our discussion is 7:30-9:30. From Bethesda metro, take both up escalators, turn left onto Old Georgetown Rd., walk five short blocks to Del Ray Ave. & turn right. Drivers can find inexpensive garages on Cordell Ave. & Old Georgetown Rd. (park above the first floor to avoid the two-hour limit). Get into the "Spirit" at Backstage Books, 545 8th St., SE, & for a special Footlights discount at Politics & Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave., NW, & Olsson's Books & Records, 1307 19th St., NW & 7647 Old Georgetown Rd., Bethesda.

Lift Your "Spirit"

On Sunday, April 28, at 2 p.m., Footlights will attend a performance of "Blithe Spirit" at Center Stage, 700 N. Calvert St. in downtown Baltimore. Tickets are $19 (balcony) or $26 (downstairs), & include a post-show discussion. All sales are final. We must receive payment by April 18 but we're already almost sold out. Mail your check to Robin Larkin, 5403 Nibud Ct., Rockville, MD 20852 (240-669-6300 & rlarkin@footlightsdc.org). Ask Robin if you need a lift to the theater. Robin will distribute tickets in the lobby just before the performance. Afterwards we'll have dinner at the Helmand, 806 N. Charles St., a nearby Afghan restaurant. 

May "Marigolds"

We continue our study of science Monday, May 13 with "The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds" (1970), the Pulitzer prize-winning play by Paul Zindel. "Marigolds" tells of a bitter, disturbed single mom & her two teenaged daughters, one nightmare-plagued & epileptic, the other a fervent believer in life, hope, & the power of science. Critics have called "Marigolds" "poignant" (New York Daily News) & "compelling" (Variety), "splendid and tormented" (Time), "beautiful" (New York Post), "funny" (Women's Wear Daily), & "unusually satisfying" (New York Times). Our meeting will feature Don Martin, who directed a celebrated production of "Marigolds" in March 1996 at The American Century Theater. At 8 p.m. Saturday, May 18, the Unitarian-Universalist Church, 4444 Arlington Blvd., Arlington, will host a viewing of the 1972 "Marigolds" film, directed by Paul Newman & starring Joanne Woodward. The $2 admission price includes refreshments. For reservations & directions, call 703-370-1838 or e- mail gemprodns@aol.com

Greatest Hits Update

Our 2002 Greatest Hits Festival starts 3 p.m. Saturday, April 6, at Round House Theatre, 12210 Bushey Dr., Silver Spring, with Ernest Joselovitz's "Shakespeare, Moses, and Joe Papp" (2002), which we discussed last December. Tickets are sold out. We'll have dinner afterwards at That's Amore!, 1699 Rockville Pike. For further information call 240-669-6300 or e-mail rlarkin@footlightsdc.org. At 5:30 p.m. Saturday, April 20, Ernest & Elaine Joselovitz will host a reception at 5918 Lemay Rd., Rockville. Admission is $10; they're also selling tickets to that day's matinee performance of "Shakespeare" ($30). Mail your check, in time to arrive by April 4, to Playwrights Forum, P.O. Box 5322, Rockville, MD 20848. For further information, call 301-816-0569 or e-mail Elaine.Joselovitz@ogilvypr.com.  

Our Greatest Hits Festival continues 8 p.m. Thursday, May 23, at Arena Stage, 1101 6th St., SW, with our April 1996 play, Eugene O'Neill's "A Moon for the Misbegotten" (1947). Tickets are $32 & we must receive payment by May 1 (also the refund deadline). Mail your check to Robin Larkin, 5403 Nibud Ct., Rockville, MD 20852. 

We started our Greatest Hits series in spring 2001, with "Major Barbara" (at Washington Stage Guild) & "American Buffalo" (at Source Theatre). On March 11, 2002, both productions received Helen Hayes nominations: "American Buffalo" for set designer Greg Mitchell, & "Major Barbara" as Outstanding Resident Play & for supporting actor Michael Glenn & director John MacDonald. Also nominated: lead performances by Anna Friel in "Lulu" (which we saw at the Kennedy Center) & Bruce Alan Rauscher in "The Andersonville Trial" (which we saw at The American Century Theater); "The Andersonville Trial" as Outstanding Resident Play; & Footlights Advisory Board (FAB) member Molly Smith, for directing "Agamemnon and His Daughters" at Arena Stage. The Helen Hayes Awards Ceremony & Gala starts 8 p.m. Monday, May 6, at the Kennedy Center. Tickets normally cost $200, but Footlights has a few for $50. To be eligible, you must purchase a ticket from us to "Blithe Spirit" or to any play in our 2002 Greatest Hits Festival. The deadline for Hayes tickets is April 5. For further details, contact Robin Larkin (240-669-6300 & rlarkin@footlightsdc.org). 

A hit from our 1999-2000 "Time and Memory" series, Donald Margulies's "Collected Stories" (1996) depicts the relationship between a creative-writing student & her mentor, a middle-aged author with a secret past. The 2000 "Collected Stories" production garnered Helen Hayes nominations as Outstanding Resident Play & for lead actress Halo Wines & director (& FAB member) Jim Petosa. From April 9-May 19, Olney Theatre Center will remount that production, with the same cast, director, & designers. Although not part of our 2002 Greatest Hits Festival, "Stories" deserves recollecting. For tickets, call the OTC box office (301-924-3400). 

Meeting Calendar

Thursday, Apr. 18: "Blithe Spirit," Delray Viet Gdn
Monday, May 13: "Effect of Gamma Rays on MITM Marigolds," Cafe Midi
Tuesday, June 18: "Y2K" ("BecauseHeCan"), site TBA
Wednesday, July 24: "Rain. Some Fish. No Elephants.," Delray Viet Gdn

all Footlights meetings run from 7:30-9:30 p.m., with dinner from 6:30-7:30.

Greatest Hits Festival

Saturday, Apr. 6: "Shakespeare, Moses, and Joe Papp," Round House, $17
Thursday, May 23: "A Moon for the Misbegotten," Arena Stage, $32
Sunday, June 2: "Side Man," Everyman Theatre, $16
Wednesday, June 5: "The Heidi Chronicles," Voice of America, $24
Sunday, June 23: "Our Town," Round House Theatre, $22

More Information

For more information about Footlights, check our website, www.footlightsdc.org. You can subscribe to our list & receive our monthly e-letter for free by sending any message--even blank--to join@footlightsdc.org.