It’s not Broadway, Off or even Off-Off Broadway, but the Plymouth Harbor Players is on a streak of smash hits with this latest production,” The Bride on the 17th Floor.” This is the fourth in the series of Don Wallace’s “..on the 17th Floor” adventures with residents at, ahem, ‘Puritan Cove,’ where there’s always a bit of humor, and this time, a who-done-it with some suspense. Did the ending take you by surprise?
The charm of community theatre on any stage is the courage shown by amateurs in the spotlight. Some of the actors in “The Bride…” courthouse scene had to memorize 20 consecutive pages of script and lively dialogue. That’s a tough assignment, even when you have the safety net of an off-stage prompter.
Those stars included Bill Brackett as Lionel Willet, the defense attorney, and Arnold Freeman as Philip Bostwick, the accused gold-digger or mourning newlywed, take your pick. The ornery Judge Stanley L. Bernstein got some extra laughs with Bobby Broderick’s characterization. Heather Shaw played the sharp prosecuting attorney, Leslie Giles. Stage Manager Jeanne Nunn also provided advice to keep the courtroom scenes realistic. Former stage manager Peggy Wallace had some fun this year as the ingénue, the lovely and well-to-do Virginia Brown who married Phil and then disappeared on their honeymoon cruise.
Over 25 residents were involved in making this production a success, many of them behind the scenes. Naomi Wittenberg pulled things together as the producer and several volunteers created sets, managed props and assisted costume changes with limited space and resources.
Anyone involved would quickly credit their success to the inspiring professionalism of the show’s writer and director, Don Wallace, who’s done a bit of this before. He started working with soap operas on radio and television after WWII. Perhaps you saw his early directing on The Edge of Night,or the two shows that he helped create, All My Children and One Life to Live.
Don says writing the story is not so tough, but directing is exhausting! There were three rehearsals a week since early January and auditions just before the holidays.
“Our amateur actors have something in common with all the professionals I’ve worked with,” says Don. “As soon as they get the script, they have changes to suggest!” But seriously, he says it is very meaningful to work with the Plymouth Harbor Players. Urging them to keep up the pace of action is more of an issue than acting skill or lines, but that’s not the reason this is important. Both he and his wife Peggy were in agreement, the stimulation of acting keeps everyone young and it’s often a much needed escape from all other daily worries.
Barry Dobson, CEO – Harry Hobson
Samantha Tobin – Ann Williams
Lionel H. Willett – Bill Brackett
Philip Bostwick – Arnold Freedman
Chiquita Mathews – Francie Jones
Virginia Brown – Peggy Wallace
Millicent Murgatroid – Anne Moore
Leslie (Les) Giles – Heather Shaw
Bailiff – Louis Schneider
Honeybunch – Carol Lawrence
Jury Foreman – George Spelvin
Kudos to everyone ‘behind the scenes’ as well! Residents: Naomi Wittenberg, John DeJongh, Bruce Wallace, Peggy Wallace, Jeanne Nunn, Alida DeJongh, Robert Lawrence, Pauline Thoms, Bev Wright, Nancy Gross and Norma Schatz. Staff: Maryanne Shorin, Karen Smith, Hugh Kelly and Jeanne MacArthur.