It was a very special event last night at the unique Black River Playhouse…the home of the Chester Theatre Group. Director/actor Michael T. Mooney with a talented cast of five presented a delightful 75th Birthday celebration for famed British playwright Alan Ayckbourn. The celebration, that included readings of scenes from ten of Ayckbourn’s plays, ended with the enthusiastic audience joining in the party with cake and champagne.
The show traced his remarkable career through excerpts from some of his best-loved plays, including ABSURD PERSON SINGULAR, HOUSE & GARDEN and THE NORMAN CONQUESTS. The evening also included an exclusive excerpt from his very first play, 1959’s THE SQUARE CAT - never before heard in the USA.
The cast included Cody Dalton, Volney Stefflre, Kelly Maizenaski, David Neal, Juliann DiPietro-Renshaw, and director Michael T. Mooney (see photos)
At the close, the cast and audience joined in a group ‘Happy Birthday’ moment for Ayckbourn who was three thousand miles away at his home in England (see photos).
In addition to the reading of selected scenes, the program opened (“The Hallo Song”) and closed (“Half A Moment”) with music from “By Jeeves.” “Jeeves” was a collaboration with Andrew Lloyd Webber….Ayckbourn contributed both the book and lyrics.
Tom Rodgers (Musical Director) was at the keyboard. The evening was produced by Gloria Lamoureux.