New Jersey Stage

Friday, August 26, 2011

Cape May Stage Presents "The Woolgatherer"

(Cape May, NJ) -- Cape May Stage, South Jersey's premier professional Equity theatre, is proud to announce the opening of William Mastrosimone's South Philly love story, The Woolgatherer.  This funny and poignant play will begin performances on Wednesday, September 14 (with an official opening on Thursday, September 15) and will run Wednesdays through Sundays at 8 p.m. through Saturday, October 22 at the Robert Shackleton Playhouse located at the corner of Bank and Lafayette Streets in downtown Cape May.
Set in a small apartment in South Philadelphia in 1979, the story follows the unlikely romance of Rose, a nervous and flighty woman who works the candy counter at the local five-and-dime, and Cliff, a foul-mouthed truck driver looking for a one night stand while his broken rig is being repaired. Rose, played by Broadway actress Pilar Millhollen, and Cliff, featuring NY stage and screen actor Michael Basile, find much more than expected when they begin to open up and share fears that have left them both unable to find the human connection they so desperately seek.

"It is a story about two misfits who somehow find each other, and, despite their own fears regarding intimacy, manage to connect and begin to heal each other," says Director Roy Steinberg. "There is a real resonance to the story that transcends the time period and is as captivating today as the first time I read it."

While the relevance of the script initially drew Steinberg to the play, he is also excited about the extraordinary opportunity to work directly with Mastrosimone.  "When a playwright says he wants to "tweak" his original script, it is an opportunity that can not be missed, " says Steinberg.  "It is a gift to have the writer in the rehearsal process. Theatre is a collaborative art and actors and directors are interpretive artists.  I firmly believe we are all storytellers," he continues, "but the writer's presence gives us insight into his true intentions. When theatre really works, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.  Often, the final product is far more resonant than anything I first envisioned."

The Woolgatherer is Mastrosimone's first play.  It premiered at the Theatre at Rutgers University in New Jersey in 1979 and won the L.A. Drama Critics Award in 1982.  Since then, Mastrosimone has written several plays including Extremeties, Cat's Paw, and Shivaree. His screenwriting credits include Into the West and the adaptation of his play Extremities. He won a Daytime Emmy Award for Bang Bang You're Dead and was nominated for a Prime Time Emmy for Into the West and The Burning Season.

Directed by Cape May Stage's Artistic Director Roy Steinberg, the artistic team includes Shawn Fisher (sets and lighting), Leon Dobkowski (costumes), and Benjamin Loverin (stage manager).

Performance Information

The Woolgatherer officially opens Thursday, September 15th and will run to Saturday, October 22nd at the Robert Shackleton Playhouse at the corner of Bank and Lafayette Streets in downtown Cape May. Performances are Wednesdays through Sundays at 8 p.m. Tickets are $35 adults, $30 seniors (62+), and $15 students.  Friday, October 7 will be a half-price performance for senior citizens. Following the September 15th opening, all ticket holders are invited to join the opening night after-party, with the chance to mingle with the cast and crew.  Call (609) 884-1341 for reservations and information or visit the theatre's website, www.capemaystage.org.

The Woolgatherer is co-sponsored by Wilsey Realty, LLC, The Fudge Kitchen, and The Mad Batter. This season's sponsors include 410 Bank Street/Frescos, Exit Zero, CapeSCape, The Corner Cottage Apartments, Harry's Bar & Grille at the Montreal Inn, La Mer Beachfront Inn, Lucky Bones, Cape May Winery, and The Washington Inn.