Carpenter square compleat

PHOTO PROVIDED Sean Eckart appears as Edward Kynaston, a famous actor in the 1660s, along with Caitlyn Cairns, his theater dresser, in a scene from �ompleat Female Stage Beauty.�Carpenter Square Theatre presents the comedy Sept. 4-26 at Stage Center. Recommended for mature audiences only. For tickets, call 232-6500. For more information, visit www.carpentersquare.com.

Carpenter Square Theatre will open its 26th season with the Oklahoma premiere of “Compleat Female Stage Beauty,” a dramatic comedy by Jeffrey Hatcher that imagines events around a famed actor of the 1600s.

Performances are Sept. 4-26 in the intimate arena theater at Stage Center, 400 W. Sheridan in downtown Oklahoma City. Special “Two-for-One” ticket nights are Sept. 4, 17 and 24.

When women were men on London stages, Edward “Ned” Kynaston was the hot superstar. It is 1661, and after 18 years of Puritan suppression, the Restoration has begun. Charles II has returned from exile to take the throne, and being an ardent patron of the arts, reopens the public theaters. The public flocks to see Kynaston, especially fawning over his delicate portrayal of Desdemona in Shakespeare’s “Othello.” The ladies clamor for his attention, but in secret he is the “mistress” of the Duke of Buckingham.

One night, a woman by the name of Margaret Hughes illegally takes the stage to play Desdemona. The novelty of it causes quite a sensation, saving her from jail time.

The king’s mistress, Nell Gwynn, longs to be a comic actress. At Nell’s urging, Charles decrees a new law that allows women to act and bans men from playing female roles. With the stroke of a pen, Kynaston loses his livelihood, his lover and his sense of self. He teeters on the brink of self-destruction, until fate and his desire for revenge persuade him to take the stage again.

Sean Eckart heads the cast as the star of the London stage, Ned Kynaston. He is supported by Tyler Woods as Thomas Betterton, Michelle Swink as Margaret Hughes, Michael Gibbons as King Charles and Holly McNatt as the king’s mistress, along with Caitlin Cairns, Brent Weber, Rodney Brazil, Terry Veal, Jodi Nestander, Tessa Dillman, Todd Clark, Katrius Muhammad and Lesley Montgomery.

Rhonda Clark serves as the director and set designer for “Compleat Female Stage Beauty.” Charlotte Rose is the production costume designer, Amy Ackerman is the lighting designer and Bob Cross handles stage manager duties.

Jeffrey Hatcher adapted his play for the screen in 2004’s “Stage Beauty,” starring Billy Crudup and Claire Danes. Other film scripts include “The Duchess” and “Casanova.” His notable play scripts include “Tuesdays With Morrie,” co-written with Mitch Albom. In the past, Carpenter Square Theatre has produced his “Three Viewings” and “Scotland Road,” and later this season will produce Hatcher’s “Murderers.”

Opening night theatergoers are invited to a post-show party on Sept. 4 with complimentary food and a cash bar. On Sept. 5, the audience is invited to attend “Theatre Exchange” immediately following the performance. This event includes a discussion with the cast and production team about the play and the process of bringing it to the stage, along with a question and answer session.

Specific performance dates and times for “Compleat Female Stage Beauty” are:

• Sept. 4-5 and 11-12 at 8 p.m.

• Sept. 17 at 7:30 p.m.

• Sept. 18-19 at 8 p.m.

• Sept. 20 at 2 p.m.

• Sept. 24 at 7:30 p.m.

• Sept. 25-26 at 8 p.m.

Reservations are suggested for all performances. Adult tickets are $18 with $15 tickets for seniors, military and groups of 10 or more. Students may purchase $5 student rush tickets on the day of the show. The show is recommended for mature audiences.

Support is provided in part by the Oklahoma Arts Council, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Allied Arts Foundation. “Compleat Female Stage Beauty” is an Allied Arts OKCity Card event. Cast Sponsor for the production is Laurel Jaworsky and Ann Eggers is the Opening Night Party Sponsor.

Carpenter Square Theatre is a non-profit community theater committed to entertain, educate and enrich the community with unedited, live theater, and is known for producing contemporary plays that have never been produced in Oklahoma City before, or have been rarely performed here. The theater’s production of “Compleat Female Stage Beauty” marks its first staging in Oklahoma.

For more information, visit www.carpentersquare.com or call the Carpenter Square Theatre box office at 232-6500.

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