Oldcastle to open ‘Northern Boulevard’

Thursday July 11, 2013

BENNINGTON -- Oldcastle Theatre Company will open the return engagement of Bennington’s beloved Carleton Carpenter’s new musical, "Northern Boulevard "on July 11 at its new theatre at 331 Main St. in Bennington.

"Northern Boulevard," with music and lyrics by Carleton Carpenter and book by Kevin Brofsky, tells the story of Jerry and Roslyn, a couple living in Queens who buy and run a deli from 1941 until the 1980s. Through their marriage and their connection to family and friends, they live with love and hard times, only to persevere with hope and optimism for the future. The score is full of heartfelt songs, which are evocative of the different time periods throughout the play.

Carleton Carpenter, a native of Bennington, appeared on Broadway beginning in 1944 in David Merrick’s first production "Bright Boy," followed by co-starring appearances in productions with Ray Bolger, Bert Lahr, and Angela Lansbury. He was featured in the film Summer Stock with Judy Garland, among many other film roles, and wrote material for Debbie Reynolds, Kaye Ballard, Marlene Dietrich and Hermione Gingold. He was teamed with Debbie Reynolds in the film musicals "Three Little Words" and "Two Weeks with Love," which featured their million-selling recordings of "Abba Dabba Honeymoon" and "Row, Row, Row." Carpenter also composed the music "Christmas Eve" for the best-selling music recording by Billy Eckstine.

The production’s cast includes Oldcastle favorites Richard Howe and Christine Decker, in addition to Brad Thomason, Cotton Wright, Jessica Raaum, Cheryl Howard, Brandon Duncan, and Amanda Garcia. "Northern Boulevard" is directed by Eric Peterson and the musical direction is provided by Jeffrey Buchsbaum.

Brad Thomason, new to the role of Jerry, has appeared in over 30 NYC productions.

Cotton Wright is returning as Roslyn Simon, Jerry’s wife. Though new to Oldcastle Theatre, previous roles in New York include Bianca in "The Taming of the Shrew" and Miranda in "The Tempest;" other roles include Sally in "You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown," Viola in Twelfth Night, Berthe in Pippin and Shelby in Steel Magnolias.

Jessica Raum’s previous roles including Judy in "9 to 5," Edwin Drood in "The Mystery of Edwin Drood," Pam in "The Full Monty" and Peggy Sawyer in "42nd Street;" for her portrayal of Annie Oakley in "Annie Got Your Gun," she received the prestigious Bay Area Critics’ Circle Award, given in San Francisco. Audiences also may see her in a current Shutterfly commercial, as well as in an upcoming film, "The Wisdom Tree."

Assuming a variety of character roles in Northern Boulevard is "Cheryl Howard," recently seen in New York as Josephine Baker in "The Sensational Josephine Baker" at the Emerging Artists Theatre Company, Kali in "Black and Blue" at the MCC theatre, and Zora in "Zora."

Oldcastle favorites Richard Howe and Christine Decker are returning to the stage as Celia and Saul Gelbert. Richard Howe, who is also the associate artistic director at Oldcastle, has appeared in dozens of roles over the past four decades, but his favorite productions include "Judevine," "Billy Bishop Goes to War," "Dancing at Lughnasa," "Lend Me a Tenor" and "Awake and Sing."

Christine Decker has performed with Oldcastle Theatre many times over the past 40 years, and local audiences will also know her from her many roles at Hubbard Hall in Cambridge, N.Y. Her stunning character portrayals are well-known to Oldcastle audiences.

Also appearing are Brandon Duncan and Amanda Garcia. Garcia is a graduate of the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City, has worked with Oldcastle Theatre backstage on costumes and props, worked as an actor in the Oldcastle Actor’s Express, and serves as OTC’s Company Manager and Programming Associate. Brandon Duncan is a native Virginian turned New Yorker and this will mark Duncan’s debut at Oldcastle Theatre.

Directing the production is Oldcastle’s Producing Artistic Director Eric Peterson, who was a founding member in 1972 of Oldcastle Theatre Company.

The musical director for "Northern Boulevard" is Jeffrey Buchsbaum, who has worked in theatres in New York, regionally and in China, Indonesia, Europe, South America and Greece.

Northern Boulevard runs from July 11 through July 21. Matinee performances are at 2 p.m. on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday, and evening performances are on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. There are two Buy-One-Get-One-Free performances on July 11 at 2 and 8 p.m., and a Sunday night performance at 7, on July 14. Single tickets are $37 and may be obtained by calling the theatre at 802-447-0564. Flexpasses, which are good for 4 performances throughout the 2013 season, are $125 and can by purchased through Oldcastle Theatre’s website at www.oldcastletheatre.org or by calling the theatre. Oldcastle Theatre is a non-profit professional Equity theatre located at 331 Main St. in Bennington,


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