Theater

Cotuit Center for the Arts produces 6 or 7 main stage productions and a dozen or so black box productions each year. We also have a monthly staged reading series held on the 2nd Wednesday of each month.  We welcome suggestions for future productions.

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Click here to submit a proposal for the 2nd Wednesday Staged Reading Series

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Cotuit Center for the Arts -- Making the arts accesssible, thrilling, and nurturing for all.

 

Absence

Opens May 5

Helen Bastion is 74 years old, but age has not taken its toll on this matriarch’s will or her need to control her family, from her compliant husband David to her resentful daughter Barb. But when she begins to suffer lapses of memory, her steely facade begins to crumble. As words lose their meaning and reality fragments, Helen’s own sense of self starts to dissolve. Is she truly disappearing, or is she becoming something greater, as the mysterious, mocking figure known as Dr. Bright promises her? Helen struggles desperately to find meaning in an existence that is slowly and inexorably becoming a void.

2nd Wednesday Theater: Frankie & Johnny & the Clair de Lune

May 11

Second Wednesday Theater at Cotuit Center for the Arts presents a staged reading of Frankie & Johnny & the Clair de Lune Wednesday, May 11, at 7:30 PM in the Art Studio.

In the City that Never Sleeps, is it possible to find real love after one night together? Join Tony Award-winning playwright Terrence McNally’s fated duo, Frankie and Johnny, a guarded waitress and a passionate short-order cook, as they discover the world is smaller than they expected, there is no such thing as a mere coincidence, and love can be as simple as deciding to embrace it.

Steel Magnolias

Opens May 17

A group of Louisiana women bond and gossip at a local beauty shop while following the marriage and motherhood of one of the customer's daughters. M'Lynn is the mother of bride-to-be Shelby and as friend Truvy fixes the women's hair for the ceremony, they welcome a helping hand from aspiring beautician Annelle. Diabetic Shelby has a health scare, which is averted but doesn't bode well for her hopes of having children. Time passes, and the women and their friends encounter tragedy and good fortune, growing stronger and closer in the process. Based on the author’s family experience following the death of his sister from diabetic complications after childbirth, this play began as a short story to give his namesake nephew an understanding of his deceased mother. It eventually evolved into a play performed Off-Broadway before being adapted for film in 1989.

Alternately hilarious and touching, “Steel Magnolias” is full of sharp, funny dialogue, delivered by a stellar cast.  You don't want to miss this one -- get your tickets today!

The Woolgatherer

Opens June 2

Truck driver, Cliff, meets a a clerk, Rose, at a southern Philadelphia five-and-dime. Rose invites Cliff back to her apartment while Cliff’s truck is being fixed.

The two strangers soon come to realize that they have much more in common than they first expected.  

2nd Wednesday Theater: Shakespeare: Drawn & Quoted

June 8

Second Wednesday Theater at Cotuit Center for the Arts presents a staged reading of Shakespeare: Drawn and Quoted, by Jim Hurley, Wednesday, June 8, at 7:30 PM in the Art Studio.

This original comedy is a play in three acts. It concerns the relationship between two retiree snowbirds who are both life long singles and meet in a Shakespeare Adult Ed class at a Florida Golf Community. Bernie Clements is an avowed bachelor and somewhat of a womanizer, who finds himself in the class after loosing a bet to his friend Claude. Claude is in the class to get close to his love interest Helen. Bea Armstrong, a retired English Literature professor, is the teacher of the class and cousin of Helen. While Bea does not disdain men, she keeps them in line with her sharp tongue and biting wit.

NOW: The Songs of Karen Carpenter

Opens June 9

A new original musical revue created by Ruth Condon of Brave Horse Music which will premiere at Cotuit Center for the Arts, Cotuit MA on June 9th, and run through the 19th of 2016.

Now will explore the musical life of Karen & Richard Carpenter through their music, interspersed with audio & video recordings and projected images. The title of the show comes from Karen’s last recording session in the spring of 1982 which was released posthumously on her album “Voice of the Heart” in the fall of 1983.

During their 14-year career, the Carpenters recorded 11 albums, 31 singles, five television specials, and a short-lived television series. Their career ended in 1983 by Karen's death from heart failure brought on by complications of anorexia. The Carpenters had three No. 1 singles and album and single sales total more than 100 million units. The musical revue will showcase Richard’s gorgeous compositions written with longtime collaborator John Bettis along with the hits that catapulted them to fame and made them a household name.

Oklahoma!

Opens July 7

Rodgers & Hammerstein's first collaboration remains, in many ways, their most innovative, having set the standards and established the rules of musical theatre still being followed today. Set in a Western Indian territory just after the turn of the century, the high-spirited rivalry between the local farmers and cowboys provides the colorful background against which Curly, a handsome cowboy, and Laurey, a winsome farm girl, play out their love story. Although the road to true love never runs smooth, with these two headstrong romantics holding the reins, love's journey is as bumpy as a surrey ride down a country road. That they will succeed in making a new life together we have no doubt, and that this new life will begin in a brand-new state provides the ultimate climax to the triumphant OKLAHOMA!

My Music and Me

Opens July 7

Composer/pianist Glenn Starner-Tate presents his musical autobiography.

"Write a super-hero story in which YOU are the super-hero," she said, "and make sure you have at least one magical power."
(Bronwen Prosser at the Cotuit Center for the Arts summer Solo Show workshop in 2012.)

"There once was a little boy in a basement in Kansas," he wrote, "who could play the piano WITHOUT piano lessons." 
(Glenn Starner-Tate, participant in that solo show workshop.)

2nd Wednesday Theater: Beau Jest

July 13

A monthly play-reading of rarely-performed classic, undiscovered gems, old chestnuts, and exciting new works.  July's reading is Beau Jest, by James Sherman. When Sarah Goldman, a lovely young school teacher in Chicago, wants to please her parents, she invents a boyfriend whom she believes will be the man of her mother's dreams. When her parents insist on meeting the man, Sarah hires Bob, an actor, to pretend to be her "beau". The masquerade works flawlessly for a time and brings comic situations, but in the end, their lives are irrevocably changed. Presented by Carol Baldwin and Vicki Summers Christopher.

The Fat Ass Cancer Bitch: Fifty’s a Bitch

Opens July 29

Edgy, unapologetic, funny, wickedly honest, hell-bent, and loudmouth, Christine Rathbun Ernst is a writer, poet, and performer. Her play about her battle with breast cancer, “Reconstruction or How I Learned to Pay Attention,” has been performed throughout New England. She performed “The Further Adventures of a Fat Ass Cancer Bitch” at Cotuit Center for the Arts in 2011, “The Fat Ass Cancer Bitch Goes Shopping,” there in 2012, "The Fat Ass Cancer Bitch Outside the Box" in 2013, "The Fat Ass Cancer Bitch Outside the Box and Occasionally al Fresco" in 2014, and "The Fat Ass Cancer Bitch Turns 49" in 2015.

Driving Miss Daisy

Opens August 4

Daisy Werthan, an elderly Jewish widow living in Atlanta, is determined to maintain her independence. However, when she crashes her car, her son, Boolie arranges for her to have a chauffeur, an African-American driver named Hoke Colburn. Daisy and Hoke's relationship gets off to a rocky start, but they gradually form a close friendship over the years, one that transcends racial prejudices and social conventions.

Wonderland

Opens August 8

Off with her head! A 21st century girl is magically transported to Lewis Carroll’s Wonderland in this play with music.  Join us for another wild, original production from Theater Under the Stairs this summer.  A family show that parents can enjoy as much as the kids will.  

2nd Wednesday Theater: J.B.

August 10 

A monthly play-reading of rarely-performed classic, undiscovered gems, old chestnuts, and exciting new works.  August's reading will be J.B., by Archibald Macleish. Based on the story of Job, this drama in verse tells the story of a twentieth-century American banker and millionaire whom God commands be stripped of his family and wealth, but who refuses to turn his back on God. J.B. won the Pulitzer Prize for drama in 1959 and the Tony Award for best play. More important, the play sparked a national conversation about the nature of God, the meaning of hope, and the role of the artist in society. Presented by Garry Mitchell.

The Money Shot

Opens September 1

This raunchy, acerbic Hollywood satire presents four characters perched on the showbiz power ladder. Two screen idols past their peak and in desperate need of a hit assemble to discuss a sensitive professional matter with their respective partners. The scene they’ll be shooting together the next day will be climactic in more ways than one, as their psychotic director wants them to have real, honest-to-badness sex on camera. (The term “money shot” comes from pornographic film.) But before they commit their coupling to digital eternity, they want to clear it with their partners. The meeting starts nasty, turns nastier and finally segues into no-holds-barred and often hilarious confrontation.

2nd Wednesday Theater: Great American Musical Singalong! The Sound of Music

September 14

A monthly play-reading of rarely-performed classic, undiscovered gems, old chestnuts, and exciting new works.  Join us in September for a sing-along rendition of the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic, The Sound of Music.

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Opens September 20 

This infamous play examines the breakdown of the marriage of a middle-aged couple, Martha and George. Late one evening, after a university faculty party, they receive an unwitting younger couple, Nick and Honey, as guests and draw them into their bitter and frustrated relationship. Set in three acts with two 10-minute intermissions, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? won a Tony Award and a New York Drama Critics' Circle Award, both for Best Play. The dialogue in the first act has been hailed by some critics as some of the greatest in all of American theatre.

Frost/Nixon

Opens September 22

Frost/Nixon is a historical drama based on the real-life interviews between British media personality, David Frost and disgraced former American President, Richard M. Nixon. Written by first-time playwright Peter Morgan, Frost/Nixon mixes the real words of the two figures with fictionalized dialogue among the men and their respective teams. Within the structure of the play, the interviews are presented as a kind of boxing match — a crucial turning point in both of their careers in which only one of them can emerge victorious.

Venus in Fur 2016

Opens October 6

Playwright Thomas Novachek is at a loss. There are simply no actresses talented enough to play his leading lady. Then in walks Vanda, a mysterious siren with the uncanny ability to inhabit his character. All bets are off when the audition quickly escalates into a seductive power play. With loads of cheek and a hint of the erotic, Venus in Fur keeps you on the edge of your seat as you question "who is really in charge here?"

2nd Wednesday Theater: Brilliant Traces

October 12

A monthly play-reading of rarely-performed classic, undiscovered gems, old chestnuts, and exciting new works.  October's reading is Brilliant Traces, by Cindy Lou Johnson. First presented by New York's prestigious Circle Repertory Company, this richly imaginative absurdist allegory used fantastic and often outlandish situations and characterizations to probe into the nature of modern relationships, both sexual and otherwise. Presented by Aisha Stewart.

Glaspell & Shaw One Acts

Opens November 3

One-act plays written by Susan Glaspell & George Bernard Shaw, directed by Garry Mitchell.

2nd Wednesday Theater: A Few Good Men

November 9

A monthly play-reading of rarely-performed classic, undiscovered gems, old chestnuts, and exciting new works.

In November we will read A Few Good Men, by Aaron Sorkin, presented by Martha Paquin. This Broadway hit about the trial of two Marines for complicity in the death of a fellow Marine at Guantanamo Bay sizzles on stage. The Navy lawyer, a callow young man more interested in softball games than the case, expects a plea bargain and a cover up of what really happened. Prodded by a female member of his defense team, the lawyer eventually makes a valiant effort to defend his clients and, in so doing, puts the military mentality and the Marine code of honor on trial. 

Scrooge

Opens November 22

November 22 – December 18

Join us for this charming stage adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol by renowned writer-composer-lyricist Leslie Bricusse. It is closely-adapted from the 1970 musical film Scrooge starring Albert Finney, which earned Bricusse an Oscar® nomination for his score.  A holiday hit for the whole family.  

Butter Ball

Opens December 1

This original and “highly inappropriate” Thanksgiving comedy takes the dysfunctional family holiday to a whole new level of absurdity. Holidays can be slippery...and this year, Turkey Day gets extra dysfunctional and family a little more than absurd. Experience an evening of pure catharsis with this incredibly fun show about the neuroses of family members and their holiday expectations. 

2nd Wednesday Theater: A Christmas Carol

December 14

A monthly play-reading of rarely-performed classic, undiscovered gems, old chestnuts, and exciting new works.  Our December play reading features A Christmas Carol, presented by the Center’s Theater Advisory Committee.

Miser Ebenezer Scrooge is awakened on Christmas Eve by spirits who reveal to him his own miserable existence, what opportunities he wasted in his youth, his current cruelties, and the dire fate that awaits him if he does not change his ways. Scrooge is faced with his own story of growing bitterness and meanness, and must decide what his own future will hold: death or redemption.