By George Kelly
Directed by Dylan Baker & Paul Mullins
Experience treasured classics and new works in the Play Discovery Reading Series, a brand new series of staged play readings curated by four-time Oscar nominee Marsha Mason. For the 80th Anniversary Season of Bucks County Playhouse, Mason has chosen to take a look at the Playhouse’s storied history — and will feature plays that have significant meaning to the Playhouse.
For this installment we are proud to present the staged reading of George Kelly’s 1922 play, The Torch-Bearers, an extraordinarily clever satire on amateur dramatics and the people who love them. It is the Noises Off of its day, a comedy of manners that focuses on a hapless group of amateur theatricals as they rehearse, and ultimately perform, a show-stopping new play.
The Torch-Bearers was first presented at Bucks County Playhouse in 1949 which featured the playwright’s niece, Grace Kelly, an acting apprentice at the Playhouse that summer season. At the age of 19 it was her professional acting debut. Ginna Le Vine will follow in her great aunt’s footsteps and play the same role Grace played in the 1949 Playhouse production.
A star-studded cast led by Becky Ann Baker (HBO’s “Girls”), 5-Time Tony nominee Dana Ivey (Off-Broadway’s original Driving Miss Daisy), 4-Time Oscar nominee Marsha Mason (“The Goodbye Girl”) and Tony winner John Rubinstein (“Children of a Lesser God”) will also star in this benefit reading.
While Baker and Rubinstein will be playing Mr. and Mrs. Ritter, and Mason and Ivey the ladies in charge, Mrs. J. Duro Pampinelli and Mrs. Nelly Fell, they will be joined by John E. Brady (Newsies) as Teddy, Sue Brady (All In The Timing) as Jenny/Clara Sheppard, Philip Goodwin (“The Pink Panther 1 & 2”) as Mr. Twiller, Ginna Le Vine as Florence McCrickett, Michael Rogers (“The Mosquito Coast”) as Mr. Spindler and Zachary Wyatt (Red) as Mr. Hossefrosse. Justin Phillips plays the stage manager and handles stage directions.
Tony and Emmy nominated stage and screen actor, Dylan Baker, will direct the star-studded reading of George Kelly’s 1922 farce both in New York City and in Bucks County. Paul Mullins will co-direct.
Performances will be held in New York City at the Westside Theatre on Monday, March 11 at 7:00 p.m. and then two days later at Bucks County Playhouse in New Hope on Wednesday, March 13 at 7:00 pm.
The March 11 reading in New York City will be held at the Westside Theatre. Tickets are $20 general admission. A limited number of VIP tickets are also available for the New York reading only for $75. VIP admission includes a post-reading reception with the cast. Tickets for the New York event must be purchased in advance. Tickets are not available for purchase at the Westside Theatre Box Office or at the venue the night of the show.
The March 13 reading will take place on the stage of Bucks County Playhouse and will be followed by a post-show discussion with the cast. Tickets for the New Hope reading are $20.
Tickets for both evenings may be purchased at BucksCountyPlayhouse.org or by calling the Playhouse’s Box Office at 267-740-2090.
Meet the Cast