New Jersey Stage

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

East Lynne Theater Company presents "He and She"

(CAPE MAY, NJ) -- Ann Herford is a wife, mother, daughter, and a successful artist. She's been able to balance all of these roles until she enters a major art competition that pits her work against Tom Herford, her husband.  What's at stake is more than the $100,000 prize in Rachel Crother’s "He and She."  When East Lynne Theater Company first produced this provocative play in 1997, "The Newark Star-Ledger" awarded it "The Best Play of the New Jersey Season."  Patrons have asked for its return, and ELTC is proud to revive it.

     It's not just Ann and Tom who have to figure out where they stand with each other in their relationship. Tom's assistant, Keith, and Ruth, a friend of Ann's who works for a magazine, are in love, but Keith's not sure he can be married to a "working" woman. Tom's sister, Daisy, is the Herford's secretary and appears to be determinedly independent, but is she?  Suddenly, the Herford’s sixteen-year-old daughter, Millicent, wants to get married.  Who wins the prize and who walks down the aisle is all revealed by the end of the play, but there are a few expected and not so expected bumps in the road along the way.

     "He and She" runs from June 15 through July 23, Wednesdays through Saturdays at 8:30p.m. at The First Presbyterian Church, 500 Hughes St., Cape May, where the company is in residence.  On opening night, Wednesday, June 15, is an after-show party at The Washington Inn where patrons have the opportunity to meet and talk to the cast and crew.  On Friday, June 24, is an after-show Q&A, and on Friday, July 15 is an ASL Performance.      

     Playwright Rachel Crothers, beginning with her first Broadway success in 1906, "The Sum of Us," and continuing through "Susan and God" in 1936, had a Broadway hit almost every year.  She also directed and produced most of her work, and played Ann in the 1920 production of "He and She."  Most of her themes involve smart, working women with families, and this play is no exception.

    The cast includes several ELTC favorites: Tom Byrn (Tom Herford), Emily Cheney (Ruth Creel), and John Cameron Weber (Dr. Remington, Ann's father), and new to ELTC: Molly O' Neill (Ann Herford), Grace Wright (Millicent Herford), Ashley Kowzun (Daisy Herford) and Dave Holyoak (Keith McKenzie). The production is directed by ELTC’s artistic director, Gayle Stahlhuth.

     Tom Byrn portrayed the wisecracking telegraph operator and John Cameron Weber, the scheming American Ambassador, in last season's "The Dictator," cited in "The Philadelphia Inquirer" for its terrific ensemble acting. Tom was also in ELTC's "The Ransom of Red Chief" and recently performed in "The Tempest" at Act II Playhouse in Ambler, PA.  He's worked with other Philadelphia area companies, and, for twelve years, acted and directed at Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble in Bloomsburg, PA. John was in ELTC's "The Butter and Egg Man," and played Michael Husted in CBS's "As the World Turns," and has worked at Cortland Rep in New York and Arrow Rock in Missouri. Emily Cheney played Kate Petigrew, the sister who was supposed to marry the Yankee in ELTC’s highly-praised time-travel adventure, "Berkeley Square."  Emily's work includes "Company" with EgoPo Productions, "A Christmas Carol" at The Walnut Street Theater, and "Berlin to Broadway" at The Ritz Theatre Company.

     Molly O'Neill most recently has worked at Trinity Rep in Provincetown, RI where she played Dabby in "Our Country's Good" and Miranda in "The Tempest" among other roles. Dave Holyoak has worked recently at the Kalamazoo Civic Theatre in such shows as "Is He Dead" and "Dirty Blonde." Ashley Kowzun recently played Lady Caroline in "Enchanted April" at Women's Theater Company in Parsippany, NJ. Grace Wright, from Cape May County, has had leading roles in local productions of "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" and "Twelfth Night."

     Tickets are $30 for general admission; $25 for seniors and those with disabilities and their support companions; $15 for students; and anyone age twelve and under is free.  Season tickets are available through June 30 and the recipient can choose what days to attend – and even bring friends!  Five tickets cost only $100.00, and patrons may see five different productions, or bring friends to see one or two shows, use all five for one performance, or give a ticket or two to friends! There are five separate tickets in the Season Ticket packet, so individual tickets may actually be given to others for their use. For information and to make reservations, call 609-884-5898 or go online at  ELTC is partnering with the following restaurants for dinner and theater ticket savings: Aleathea's, 410 Bank Street, Fresco's, The Washington Inn.  Call the restaurants for reservations and mention the ELTC-Dinner-And-A-Show Package.

     The production of "He and She" would not be possible without show sponsor The Henry Sawyer Inn; season sponsors Curran Investment Management, Aleathea's Restaurant, and La Mer Beachfront Inn; funding received through grants from the New Jersey Department of State, Division of Travel and Tourism and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts; and the generosity of many patrons.

Photo: The cast of East Lynne Theater Company's "He and She" after their first rehearsal: Dave Holyoak, Tom Byrn, John Cameron Weber, Emily Cheney, Grace Wright, Molly O'Neill, and Ashley Kowzun.