American Players Theatre
5950 Golf Course Road
P.O. Box 819
Spring Green, WI 53588
Box Office: 608-588-2361
June 11 – September 17
If there’s one thing we’ve learned in recent years, it’s the power of a good laugh. The kind that bubbles up from deep in the soul and holds us gleefully, helplessly captive. This season’s answer to that basic human need is The Rivals – just the type of comedy we’ve all been pining for. Completely ridiculous, but with a full and beating heart, offering characters who are delightfully simple slices of humanity. Characters that, when held up to the light, reflect that humanity right back at us. (Lydia Languish? Jack Absolute? We’ll take one of each, with a side of Mrs. Malaprop). It’s a line these actors walk with grace and aplomb, and no matter which character enters stage right, you know they’re there for a good time. The return to joy we’ve all been craving – a big, beautiful, starlit comedy.
Featuring Tracy Michelle Arnold, Kelsey Brennan, Tim Gittings, Phoebe González, David Daniel, Josh Krause, Brian Mani, Ronald Román-Meléndez, James Ridge & Marcus Truschinski
Lydia Languish is bound and determined to marry only for love, a situation that she expects (and hopes) will land her in the poor house. This causes a conundrum for the wealthy Jack Absolute, who is in love with Lydia, but doesn't meet the requirements of being destitute. So to woo her, Jack takes on the persona of Ensign Beverly, a poor enlisted man. But Lydia's aunt, Mrs. Malaprop (a literary icon) can never allow such a love connection, setting the couple and their cohort off in a hilarious comedy of manners that APT hits right in the sweet spot.
Lively comic melodrama 'The Rivals' opens at APT
By Lindsay Christians, The Cap Times, June 20, 2022
'Rivals' Cast Competes for Audience Laughs
By Regina Belt-Daniels, Northwest Herald, June 22, 2022
'The Rivals' Kicks Off the 2022 Season at APT in Fine Form
By Gwendolyn Rice, Isthmus, June 23, 2022
Writing this Director’s Note for the first professional show I’ve directed in nearly two and a half years has proven to be quite a challenge. After trying many approaches, and failing miserably at all of them, I thought I’d fall back on an old friend: The Top Ten List! Here, then, is a list of the top ten things I want to share with you before you see our production of The Rivals.
1. I think of this play as a brilliant, 250-year-old prototype of a Sitcom (or Situation Comedy). I grew up on these, from the sublime (M*A*S*H) to the ridiculous (Gilligan’s Island), and everything in between. I loved them all in different ways. The things they share with The Rivals include extreme characters, bold situations, a lot of love and longing, and the primary goal of being wildly entertaining.
2. I can think of no place better to do The Rivals than here at APT. This glorious company of actors is so skillful, so courageous, so radiant in their use of heightened language, and so deeply connected to text. I am filled with gratitude to be back at APT, playing Up The Hill. I love this theatre, the entire team that assembles here each summer, and you, our enthusiastic and insightful audience.
3. For any sitcom to really succeed, it needs to be more than witty or clever— It needs to be TRUE. With outrageous characters and contrived situations, if we don’t recognize ourselves and our loved ones in it, it won’t ever be genuinely funny. I love that this play is both outrageous and true.
4. Mr. Sheridan wrote this play around 1774, when he was 23 or 24 years old. You can feel, in the bones of the play, the enthusiasm and exuberance of youth—along with an insight into human foibles far beyond his years. I think that combination is part of its lasting appeal…
5. Mr. Sheridan’s mother was a playwright. In the 1700’s. That delights me, somehow…
6. I love Mrs. Malaprop and her many Malapropisms. They are like the terrible dad jokes with which I plague my wife and daughter. Again, both sublime and ridiculous. They make me smile every time…
7. I’m a relatively new professor at American University in Washington, DC, and I’d like to thank all my students and colleagues whom, for the past two years, have helped me further refine what is most essential and worthwhile to me in the theatre.
8. As is so often the case, I would like to thank and dedicate this show to my wife, Erin Weaver, and my daughter, Maisie Ann Posner, who inspire me, challenge me, support me, and make it possible in every way for me to leave home and come and play in the woods with all of you.
9. Thank you all for seeing this play— for venturing out to live theatre. All of us who take such delight in telling stories in this particular manner are grateful for each and every one of you.
10. This play is all about Love. Most all of the best plays are, in one way or another…