Mornings At Seven

Redbud Productions Presents - Mornings At Seven

JUNE 2-5, 2005

Directed By Award-Winning Director Cassie Mann
The year’s at the spring, And day’s at the morn:
Mornings at seven; The snail’s on the thorn;
God’s in His heaven; All’s right with the world. (Robert Browning)

For a charmingly humorous and nostalgic look at a small-town America sixty-plus years ago – a time when houses could be rented for a little at $45 a month and $300 was exorbitant to pay for a new bathroom – do not miss this production of Paul Osborn’s classic comedy Mornings At Seven, directed by Cassie Mann, featuring a cast of accomplished area actors.

This delightful peek into the world of four aging sisters and their families premiered on Broadway in 1939 and has since had two acclaimed Broadway revivals – most recently in 2002. Teresa Wright, Elizabeth Wilson, Maureen O’Sullivan, Estelle Parsons, Frances Sternhagen, Piper Laurie, Julie Hagerty and Christopher Lloyd are just a few of the stars that have graced Broadway in this delicately humor-filled, Tony-award winning classic.

Redbud’s version will take place at Riverside Arts Center, located at 76 North Huron Street in Ypsilanti, Thursday through Saturday June 2-4 at 8:00 p.m. with 2:00 p.m. matinees on Saturday and Sunday June 4 & 5. Tickets are $16 for adults and $12 for youth and seniors and may be purchased at the door. Reservations may be made in advance by calling 734-663-7167.

The nostalgic world of Morning’s At Seven centers around a small mid-western town in the late 1930’s, where four sisters, three of whom are married, have lived as next-door neighbors, peacefully, for decades.

Unlike the Browning poem (from which the Morning’s At Seven title is taken) all is not right with the world when Ida Bolton (Lenore Ferber)‘s middle -aged son, Homer (Chris Starkey), announces that he is engaged to his fiancée of many years (Emily Raymond) and is finally bringing her by to meet the families. This visit is the source of much curiosity among the aunts and uncles, but that is not all that is awry in the neighborhood.

Ida’s husband Carl (Thom Johnston) continues to be plagued by mysterious ‘spells.’ Next door, dutiful Cora (Loretta Grimes) plots for herself and her husband Thor (Tim Grimes) to move away from her noisy, live-in, unmarried sister Arry (Erica Dutton), who carries a decades-old secret which she constantly threatens (to Thor’s dismay) to disclose. Up the road, sister Esther (Kyle Marie) struggles to break free from the rigid rules of her husband, David (Khurum Sheikh) an intellectual, who considers his wife’s relatives to be morons.

Before two delicate Fall days have passed all three families will have argued, cajoled, fussed and made up with each other several times. But underneath the bickering is the strong sense of family love and devotion, which is the foundation of this classic play.

Using theater games, emotional recall techniques and character study sheets, each actor in the play studied the character they portray, and used events from their own lives to connect to the character’s emotions. The cast also used an intense series of improvisations, based on their character’s past lives, to more fully investigate the individuals which they portray. The result is a series of open honest and compelling performances.

Cassie Mann is a well-known award-winning local director and actress. She last directed Ann Arbor Civic Theater’s acclaimed production of Dinner With Friends. She has appeared in many plays with Redbud Productions including The Children’s Hour, Crimes of the Heart, Wait Until Dark and Marvin’s Room and directed the Redbud staging of The Shadow Box.

For Morning‘s At Seven, Cassie has chosen to concentrate to carry the audience back to an earlier time in the Midwest – and to focus on the gently humor-filled issues of four small town sisters in the Midwest – – and the result is an delightful evening of nostalgic theater.