Two Plays Opening In June At Cotuit Center For The Arts

‘Moby Dick! The Musical’
Cotuit Center for the Arts presents “Moby Dick! The Musical,” directed by Tristan DiVincenzo, June 5 to 29. The show, which opened in 1992 in London, was written by Robert Longden, with music and lyrics by Longden and Hereward Kaye. Performances are Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8 PM, and Sunday at 4 PM.

In an effort to avoid financial ruin, a girls’ reform school mounts a production of “Moby Dick” to raise funds to save their school in this energetic mixture of high camp, salty innuendo and 27 musical numbers.
“It is a crazy, delightful mashup of musical styles and ribald double entendre. There are elements of ’80s rock opera, vaudeville, disco, and southern gospel,” said Christine Ernst, who plays Starbuck, the stern and fair first mate. “We have a tribute to Bob Fosse, rip-offs of Gilbert & Sullivan and Elvis Presley, and even a little opera. There is something for everyone.”

The cast of 14 includes two families. Christine’s husband, Michael Ernst, plays the cross-dressing headmistress who eagerly takes the role of the obsessed Captain Ahab, which he/she plays in double drag. Christine’s daughter, Marney Rathbun, is the student who has written the musical version of Melville’s classic “Moby Dick” and plays Ishmael in the show, a role which allows her to show off her vocal talents.

The Brimdyr family is also in the show, with Kajsa as the school janitor, her husband, Josh, as Dagoo, a harpooner, and their daughter, Kyra, as a sailor.

Jo Brisbane, a CCftA regular, plays harpooner Queequeg, a “people-eater” from the South Seas. Aisha Stewart, who helps run the box office at CCftA, plays Flask, a crew member on the Pequod. Jason Mellin, another Cotuit regular, plays the Great White Whale, who appears in ghostly form throughout the musical.

Tristan DiVincenzo is not only directing but also working on choreography with Michele Colley.

Elisabeth Moore is choral director, and Henry Buck will conduct the orchestra. Peter D. Cook is the lighting and special effects designer, and Kempton Parker is the sound designer.

CCftA will offer special signature cocktails during the performances, including “Call Me Ishmael” and “The Shrunken Head.”

Tickets to “Moby Dick! The Musical” are $28, $25 for seniors, $23 for members and $15 for students. Premium tables with wine are available. The play is recommended for ages 12 and older.

‘The Woods Hole Plays’

Also opening on June 5 and running through June 29 will be two new one-act plays, “The Woods Hole Plays,” in the center’s Black Box Theater. The plays, “The Caretaker,” by Bronwen Prosser of Woods Hole, and “Church,” by Danny Mitarotondo of New York, are directed by Kathryn Walsh of Chicago. Performances are Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 8 PM and Sunday at 4 PM.

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Earlier drafts of the plays were presented at CCftA and in Woods Hole in April as staged readings. Since then the playwrights have revised the plays, which will now be presented as full productions with costumes, lighting and sound.

While the two plays are very different, both were written specifically for the Black Box Theater, said Ms. Prosser, and the action in each play takes place in Woods Hole. The same actors—Anna Botsford, Ricky Bourgeois and Eric Edwards—appear in both plays.

“The Caretaker,” which takes place in the winter, is about a relationship between the caretaker of an estate and the family who employs him. As the play begins, Ms. Prosser explains, “one of the daughters of the owner of the estate shows up unannounced, uninvited, and unwanted by the caretaker.”

Mr. Mitarotondo describes “Church” as a “midsummer night’s dreamesque wedding at hyper-speed,” a farce-comedy in which feisty, aggressive Anna marries the more conservative Ricky after a two-day whirlwind romance. Anna’s father is a minister, “a wise and haunted man,” and so they get married in his church.

“The actors are working hard,” said Ms. Prosser. “They have two very different plays to perform in the same evening and are memorizing two entirely different scripts, forming very different relationships with each other in each play. From an actor’s point of view, it is a tremendous amount of work, and a tremendous amount of fun.

“And, for the audience, it’s two plays for the price of one!” she said.

Tickets for “The Woods Hole Plays” are $15, $12 for members.

To purchase tickets to either show visit artsonthecape.org or call 508-428-0669.

Cotuit Center for the Arts is at 4404 Falmouth Road (Route 28) in Cotuit.

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