'Writer's Cramp' (or How Will Shakespeare Got Into Showbiz)

A Bawdy Comedy in Two Acts by Larry Glaister

The first 2012 production coming to Naugatuck's own Phoenix Stage Company

January 21, 27, 28, February 3 & 4, 2012 
at 8 p.m.

January 22 & 29, 2012
at 2 p.m.

Featuring Alex Carrasco as Frail Young John, Bailey Cummings as Ned, Rick Dufresne as Old Man Jack, Chris Evans (who has been seen at the Phoenix Stage in The Glass Menagerie, Twelve Angry Men, The Ice Box, and Beyond Therapy) as Hamnet Giles, Kristen Jacobsen as Anne Hathway, KC Pietro as Agnes and Rob Richnavsky as Will Shakespeare. Directed by Ed Bassett

About the play

We all have experienced some of Shakespeare’s plays, but if you have ever wondered how Will got some of his ideas, this production may help explain that and give you a whole new outlook concerning the Bard of Avon. How did William Shakespeare rise from humble beginnings to become the great playwright?

This play tells the true story with all the juicy details as discovered by an academic with questionable credentials. It’s 1585 and Will Shakespeare is unemployed and dreaming of being a poet. His wife Ann is more practical, recognizing that poetry equals poverty. She thinks about seducing a man who’s a better provider and Will thinks about finding the right phrase.

Is this true love? Can Will succeed? All the answers will be provided in the end.

For ticket info including a seating chart and pricing guide, visit the Phoenix's recently revamped website. Seating is reserved and they have a heavy walk-up traffic, so they strongly advise reservations or advance purchases. Be sure to view the video on the homepage which is a photo montage of their ambitious inaugural season put together by Sharon A. Wilcox. My favorites are the candid/silly cast photos, but each of them brought back memories of all of the wonderful shows I have seen at the Phoenix Stage.

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Nancy Sasso Janis January 20, 2012 at 01:28 AM
My Review William Shakespeare and I go way back. I was raised in Stratford, so studying his plays followed by field trips to the (now closed) Shakespeare Festival Theater were frequent when I was in school. As a student I never appreciated how lucky we were to have such a theater gem in our very own town, but I digress… This wonderful farce attempts to explain how dear William got his ideas with a little help from his friends. (Listen for the bells) It shows how he rose from an unemployed poet to become a great playwright with all the juicy details. I got to attend one of the final dress rehearsals of this slightly bawdy play and I enjoyed it. I had fun listening for the Shakespearean quotes and laughing at the riffs on the master’s plot devices. I also found that I had to pay attention because the repartee is fast and furious at times.
Nancy Sasso Janis January 20, 2012 at 01:29 AM
Alex Carrasco, in his first appearance on stage, plays Frail Young John with an effective dreamy quality. The very tall Bailey Cummings appears as a young actor named Ned who, as was common in Shakespeare’s time, plays a female role. Rick Dufresne, who told me that it has been 21 years since his last role, appears as Old Man Jack. In monologues he expertly opens the first and second acts and appears in the final scenes and he is just adorable. Young KC Pietro pulled off the role of a maiden looking for a guy. Chris Evans, no stranger to the Phoenix Stage, plays Hamnet Giles, a shifty character with ulterior motives. I was surprised to learn that Evans’ first time on stage since high school was in The Glass Menagerie at PSC; he appears to have far much more experience because he is just that good. It amazed me that no one in the cast slipped and called his character by that other Shakespearean character’s name.
Nancy Sasso Janis January 20, 2012 at 01:29 AM
The lovely Kristen Jacobson is the practical Anne Hathway, Will’s wife. This seductress has the acting chops, the physical prowess and comic timing of a seasoned veteran and was luminous in this role. Rob Richnavsky plays the lead role of Will Shakespeare and successfully portrayed him as a kind man and dreamy writer that was perfect for this farce. The interaction between him and Evans as Hamnet is a pleasure to watch. Ed Bassett runs a tight ship as the director and it shows. The Phoenix stage itself has never looked better with it’s new light board. The set, which contained the requisite multiple doors to slam, featured a convincing fireplace. The costumes, spearheaded by Agnes Dann, were very period appropriate and lovely indeed. The men all sport the appropriate facial hair. I have it on good authority that the play’s author Larry Glaister is flying in for opening night. I am sure that he will be impressed. The closing night’s performance is sold out, so call the box office to make a reservation for one of the other nights or matinees.
Nancy Sasso Janis January 30, 2012 at 12:34 AM
This just in! WRITER'S CRAMP has been extended - the audience response has been overwhelming so we've added three more performances next weekend. February 10 & 11 at 8:00pm and February 12 at 2:00pm. Call (203) 632-8546 to reserve your tickets before they SELL OUT!
Nancy Sasso Janis February 02, 2012 at 12:12 PM
Check out this feature story about Rick Dufresne by Tim Phillips: http://naugatuck.patch.com/articles/writers-cramp-opens-at-the-phoenix


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