Monday, June 22, 2015

Upstaged by Sherman

The Westport Country Playhouse is storied indeed. Hundreds of actors have graced its stage since it opened in 1931, including Danny Aiello, Alan Alda, Jane Alexander, Matthew Broderick, Art Carney, Carol Channing, Sammy Davis Jr., Richard Dreyfuss, Buddy Ebsen, Henry Fonda, Eva Gabor, Larry Hagman, Neil Patrick Harris, Gene Kelly, Groucho Marx, Liza Minnelli, Paul Newman, John Ritter, Mickey Rooney, Paul Rudd, Susan Sarandon, Jessica Tandy, Christopher Walken and Gene Wilder.

I live in Connecticut, and I’ve been to the Westport Country Playhouse on more than one occasion. I first got into the act, so to speak, in July 1998, when my brother and I saw Wonder Years co-stars Dan Lauria and Fred Savage reunite in Wendell & Ben, a two-man play about a Gentile father and his Jewish son-in-law. I drove to the playhouse, a converted 19th-century barn, from my Fairfield home that summer evening. It took about 10 minutes to get there — a five-mile straight shot west on the Post Road, into Westport. The Westport Country Playhouse, you see, is in Westport. Sherman, a small town on the New York border, also has a playhouse, but it’s called — get this — the Sherman Playhouse.

I’m sorry, Sherman, but you’re not Westport’s stage name. It’s curtains for you.

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