Fairfield resident directs Moss Hart’s Light Up the Sky

The Westport Community Theatre presents Moss Hart’s Light Up the Sky, a comedy about Broadway, weekends from Friday, Feb. 5 through Sunday, Feb. 21, at Westport Community Theatre, 110 Myrtle Avenue, Westport. Seasoned director and Fairfield resident Ruth Anne Baumgartner is at the helm of the WCT production, which features Westport residents Cindy Hartog, Bia Hittman, Leigh Katz and John Fatteross in the cast.

Light Up the Sky takes place in the hotel suite of Broadway actress Miss Irene Livingston, prior to the opening of a new play in an out-of-town tryout. Over the course of the evening, a truck-driver-turned-playwright witnesses his first play being produced in Boston. Hart’s backstage comedy features the grandly temperamental leading lady, her sarcastic, gin-rummy-playing mother, the flamboyant director, the lowbrow producer and his ice-skating, wisecracking wife. The opening night seems to go awry and the producer and cast believe it is a flop. They turn against one another, against the producer and especially against their unlikely author. When it turns out that the reviews are favorable, however, the tables turn, and comically, the show business people go from friends to enemies and to friends, once more.

The New York Times described the comedy as, “One of our most durable, delicious, and true comedies”, while Variety called it “a vinegar-laced valentine to the theatre”. Director Ruth Anne Baumgartner feels that, “Light Up the Sky is a great way to celebrate WCT’s 60th Anniversary because it is, after all, a celebration of theater itself, at its ‘best and worst’. It’s a very funny play, but that’s partly because it is, on many levels, true.” Baumgartner first saw the play performed by her college drama society. “I still recall it today, when I’m trying to deal with the rare ‘difficult’ cast member, worrying about ticket sales, gearing up for opening night, lifting a glass of champagne, or secretly weeping as the set comes down after we close. I’m very, very glad to be helping it happen at WCT.”

Baumgartner has previously directed for Westport Community Theatre, Town Players of Newtown, Eastbound Theatre, Stamford’s Rainbow Theatre, Putney Players and Newtown High School. She was artistic director and principal director of the staged-readings series, Bare Bones Theater, at the Pequot Library, and this past fall directed a staged reading of Our Town as part of the WCT fund-raising gala for the Bill Meyer Scholarship.

Light Up the Sky is produced by arrangement with Dramatists Play Service. The WCT cast also includes Timothy Brandt, Jonathan Jacobson, Mark Lambeck, Phillip Lorenzo, Sunny Makwana, P.J. Morello, Rosanne Nelson, Tom Rushen, and Ward Whipple. Joan Lasprogato is producer.

Performances run Feb. 5-21, Fridays and Saturdays, at 8 p.m. and Sundays, at 2 p.m., with a Thursday performance on Feb. 11, at 8 p.m.

For tickets, at $23 and $21 for seniors and students, visit westportcommunitytheatre.com or call 203-226-1983.

Front row: Bia Hittman, Rosanne Nelson, Sunny Makwana, and Phillip Lorenzo. Back row: Jonathan Jacobson, P.J. Morello, Leigh Katz and Timothy Brandt.

Front row: Bia Hittman, Rosanne Nelson, Sunny Makwana, and Phillip Lorenzo. Back row: Jonathan Jacobson, P.J. Morello, Leigh Katz and Timothy Brandt.

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