Celebrating 30 years at Waveny Park, the Town Players of New Canaan will bring up the lights on Friday, Feb. 22, on its 147th subscription show at the Powerhouse Theatre with Ken Ludwig's wintertime blues chaser "The Fox on the Fairway," an antic and light-hearted comedy directed by Tim Cronin.
For the first 38 years of its existence, the TPNC were itinerant players, performing at Center School (now the farmer's market parking lot), the Congregational Church Lecture Room (now Smith Hall without a stage), at Saxe Junior High School (now the School House Apartments), at Saxe Junior High School (then New Canaan High School), and primarily at South School's 387 raked-seat auditorium (now a flat floor "cafetorium").
Everything changed on March 18, 1983, when the Town Players opened with the gala "Powerhouse Premier." After a mammoth two-year restoration project, the TPNC had just moved into its permanent home, the 115-seat Powerhouse Theatre, named for what had been the Power Plant, erected by Thomas Hall in 1896 east and north of Waveny House. According to the New Canaan Historical Society, "...here were the electric generators to light the houses and barns, the boilers that supplied steam for heating, and a pump to boost the water pressure ... Except on special occasions, Frank Pearson, the engineer, would momentarily dim the lights at 9:00 p.m., warning everyone that bedtime was half an hour away, and at 9:30 the power went off."
In his foreword to "The Fox on the Fairway," Ludwig concludes, "Finally, I've written this play not only as an homage to the earlier tradition [of English farces such as Charley's Aunt], but also as a reminder of the values that the tradition embodies, things like innocence, humor, good sportsmanship and honor. My hope is that it is still possible to come together in a darkened theater and embrace these values with a sense of joy. If so, there may be hope for us yet."
"I like to produce," Dean said, "It's the challenge and joy of taking a bare stage and orchestrating all the pieces that pull together an environment that reflects a particular slice of the world which the playwright has created. With Ken Ludwig, it's always fun and a great way to spend the winter! Everyone who attends the opening night performance for `The Fox on the Fairway' is invited to stay for a party in the lobby."
Performance dates are Feb. 22 and 23 and March 1, 2, 8 and 9 at 8 p.m. and Feb. 24 and March 3 at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for students and seniors (age 62). A party will follow the opening night performance. For tickets, call 203-966-7371.