FROM THE ROAD: VT and CT – Hurricane Irene Edition!

Like the postman, I will brave all weather for the sake of musical theatre and NAMT, but thankfully Irene held off long enough so I could swing by the Weston Playhouse Theatre Co., in Weston, VT and see the opening night of the world premiere of Saint Ex, by Sean Barry and Jenny Giering (Festival Alumna from Princess Caraboo). The Weston Playhouse received a $15,000 grant from our National Fund for New Musicals for this production, so I was honored to represent NAMT on opening night. It was a beautiful production of a sweeping and touching musical about the life of the man who wrote The Little Prince, directed by Kent Nicholson. Resident Producing Director Steve Stettler and his team did a wonderful job of nurturing this show and bringing it to life. The night was capped off with the late-night cabaret performance downstairs from some of the cast and staff entertaining the elated crowd.

After a quick stop by the Vermont Country Store for cheese and maple syrup, it was off to see the matinee of The Unauthorized Autobiography of Samantha Brown at Goodspeed Musicals. I was
supposed to see the evening performance but with Irene in Virginia, I thought it would be best to catch an earlier show so I could get home and avoid the hurricane. Sam Brown is by Brian Lowdermilk and Kait Kerrigan and is about a young woman on the morning of her first day of college who can’t decide between school and finally doing what she wants. It was a great production and the small audience, of those willing to brave a storm for art, loved it!

Sadly, the actualities of the storm started to set in after that show. It was supposed to be Sam Brown’s third-to-last show, but because of Irene…it became their last show during the performance. They had a great run but it was sad to hear that they and the audience would be deprived of the final two performances.

After Irene passed, the effects of the storm really hit home when I heard that the Weston was flooded, halting their production of Saint-Ex until the theatre was cleaned up and what was able to be saved was salvaged. As the photos on their Facebook page started to come in, it became clear that while flood was horrible, the Weston staff, volunteers and actors were resilient and wouldn’t let a little water and mud get in their way. By the end of the week, the show was back up (modified to embrace some necessary changes); an amazing feat! And I know that, storm or not, Saint Ex will fly again at many theatres around the country!
Branden Huldeen
New Works Director

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