New Jersey Stage

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Chester Theatre Group Presents The Cocktail Hour by A.R. Gurney

(CHESTER, NJ) -- The Chester Theatre Group will present the comedy The Cocktail Hour by A.R. Gurney on Friday and Saturday at 8 pm November 5 to the 19 and Sunday at 2 pm, November 13 and 20, 2011, at the Black River Playhouse, located at the corner of Grove Street and Maple Avenue in Chester, NJ.

Winner of the Lucille Lortel Award as Best Off-Broadway Play. A long-run New York success, this witty, perceptive play blends mordant humor with moments of affecting poignancy. "THE COCKTAIL HOUR is as funny and moving as The Dining Room…it could be the best play he has done so far." —- The New Yorker.

"It makes for a deliciously funny and also occasionally touching evening, as Gurney's family sit around raking over old coals and settling old scores with a quite new and beguiling freshness." —- NY Post. "The lines in the play crackle and pop with an electricity all their own." —- Drama-Logue…."when I watch Gurney at his best, as he is here, I laugh through the tears." —- NY Daily News.

The Cocktail Hour will be directed by Cindy Alexander (Annandale). The cast includes: Michael Foley (Andover) , Penny Hoadley (Brookside), AnnDonne Pepito (Somerset), and Steve Catron (Mendham).

The time is the mid '70s, the place a city in upstate New York. John, a playwright, returns to his family's house, bringing with him a new play which he has written about them. His purpose is to obtain their permission to proceed with production, but his wealthy, very proper parents are cautious from the outset. For them the theatre is personified by the gracious, comforting era of the Lunts and Ina Claire, and they are disturbed by the bluntness of modern plays. And there is also John's sister, Nina, to contend with, although her reservations have to do with the fact that John has given her character such a minor role. Their confrontation takes place during the ritual of the cocktail hour, and as the martinis flow so do the recriminations and revelations, both funny and poignant. In the end it is evident that what John has written is closer to the truth than his family has heretofore been willing to admit, and that beneath their WASP reserve his parents and siblings are as beset with uncertainties and frustrations as their presumed "inferiors." But while they seem shackled by the past, and tantalized disappointments and, with unfailing warmth and humor, converting pained resignation into cautious but hopeful anticipation.

Tickets are $18 ($16 for Seniors/Students). For reservations call 908-879-7304. For more information visit the CTG website www.chestertheatregroup.org