Granite Theater Announced Rock Solid Season of Plays for 2018

10960450_789400281115653_8688749787386407255_oWhile many in the local theater scene have earned the moniker of “hardest working man (or woman) in local theater,” hands down, David & Beth Jepson deserve a huge hat tip for their years of dedication to Westerly’s historic Granite Theater. Under the artistic leadership of the couple’s Renaissance City Theatre Company, the venue is a lovingly restored Greek Revival Church sitting tall amid downtown Westerly.

Now entering their 18th season, The Granite Theater entertains an estimated 15,000 people a year in their intimate, yet comfortable venue. Whether the Jepsons are busy onstage or behind the scenes, you can be sure that they have been involved in almost every aspect of the theater’s year-round productions.

The play selection process for each season is a team effort as well. “Beth scours the internet looking for potential titles and synopses,” David Jepson explains. “Sometimes [looking to] other theater companies around the country for new ideas on scripts.”

Once they have a field of choices (usually 50 or more scripts), the hard choices begin. “We discuss them…narrowing it down,” says David. After reading them, they pick the final seven titles to create a well-balanced season.

Granite’s 2018 season offers a mix of plays ranging from suspenseful thrillers to a mystery from Agatha Christie, door slamming farces, Neil Simon comedies and classic family musicals.

The season opens in March with Frederick Knott’s classic thriller Dial M for Murder. Many are familiar with Hitchcock’s classic film version where a husband plans the perfect murder in order to cash in on his wife’s wealth. Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Proof by David Auburn, takes the stage in late April with a fascinating take on a young woman’s attempt to wrestle with her brilliant but unstable father’s legacy. June brings Norm Foster’s The Ladies Foursome, the female version of Granite’s 2016 hit play where four golfers gather on the greens to honor a recently departed friend.

A Comedy of Tenors by Ken Ludwig ushers in the summer season. In the follow-up to his successful Lend Me A Tenor, Ludwig mixes together four tenors, two wives, three girlfriends and a soccer stadium filled with screaming fans. What could possibly go wrong? Running the month of August is The Prisoner of 2nd Avenue, Neil Simon’s black comedy about an out-of-work executive who loses everything one hot summer in the city.

An announcement in the local paper states the time and place when a murder is to occur. That is the premise of A Murder Is Announced, the classic Agatha Christie puzzle of mixed motives, concealed identities – and of course, our gal Miss Marple. Just in time for fall, the theater has programmed Bell, Book and Candle, John Van Druten’s take on modern romantic tale made hilariously complicated by the fact that the object of affection in this case is a witch.

The festive (and family-friendly) musical Annie hits the stage for the holiday season. The award-winning Meehan, Strouse and Charnin confection brings to the stage scores of well-known songs, adorable singing orphans and big city adventures with for the titular orphan and her lovable mutt.

Evening performances run Thursdays through Saturdays at 8pm and Sunday matinees at 2pm. Visit them online at granitetheatre.com or call the box office at 401-596-2341.

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