Compleat Female Stage Beauty at the Players’ Ring

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Danica Carlson as Maria, Olivia Tobin as Nell Gwynn, Billy Butler as Edward Kynaston and Jennifer Henry as Margaret Hughes. Photo by M. Lavigne Photography

Back Alley Productions is delighted to bring Jeffrey Hatcher’s masterpiece Compleat Female Stage Beauty to the Players’ Ring!
June 2 – 18 Back Alley Productions presents Compleat Female Stage Beauty by Jeffrey Hatcher at the Players’ Ring Theatre located at 105 Marcy St. in Portsmouth. Showtimes are Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm and Sunday matinees at 3 pm. Tickets cost $15
with discounts for students, seniors, and Players’ Ring members. To reserve,

In 1661 the most famous portray-er of female roles on the London stage was a performer named “Kynaston.” Like every other player permitted to enact such roles, Kynaston was a man. A celebrity artist shining bright at the crest of the English Restoration, Ned (or Mr. K, as he’s called), is applauded onstage and off for his interpretations of Shakespeare’s tragic ladies: Ophelia, Cleopatra, especially his Desdemona and his famous “death scene.”

He’s the toast of the town and the very secret “mistress” of the powerful Duke of Buckingham. But when an unknown named Margaret Hughes plays Desdemona illegally one night at a competing theater, instead of stopping the show, the ever-game King Charles II changes the law to allow women to act on the stage.

By the stroke of a pen, Kynaston’s world is turned upside-down. He loses his cachet, his livelihood, his lover and his sense of self. And as such women as the king’s own courtesan, Nell Gwynn, and Kynaston’s former dresser, Maria, become stars, his own light disappears until fate and his desire for revenge give him a chance to take the stage again.

Back Alley Productions has been creating thought provoking, quality, theater for the New Hampshire Seacoast since 2008. Its founders, Joi Smith and Danica Carlson, share a passion for highlighting the amazing talents in the community and bringing to life the beautiful stories of the human experience for their audiences to enjoy.

Meet the Stage Beauty Cast: Adam MacDougall

 

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Adam MacDougall will be portraying multiple characters in Compleat Female Stage Beauty (Hyde/Male Emilia/Ruffian/Sir Peter Lelly/Thomas Killigrew)

Adam is excited to be working with Back Alley Productions for the first time. And although he has performed at the Players’ Ring as a pianist years ago, this will be his first time acting in this incredible space. In life, as in this play, Adam wears many hats: He is a piano teacher at Portsmouth Music & Arts Center, a bread baker at Ceres Bakery, and somewhere in between he finds time for theatre as a music director and occasional actor.  Favorite past roles include Robert in Boeing Boeing, Tim Allgood in Noises Off, and Banquo in MacBeth.  He is so grateful to be a part of this production–to work alongside such a talented group of actors and production team is both inspiring and humbling.

 

Meet the Stage Beauty Cast: Danica Carlson

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Danica Carlson as Maria. Photo by M. Lavigne Photography

Danica Carlson will portray Maria in Compleat Female Stage Beauty

An Internationally sold recording artist, Danica has appeared in over 275 film, radio, voice-over and live stage performances since the age of five. She has directed and choreographed over 2 dozen shows here on the seacoast, and has been a scenic charge (set painter) for over a decade. Danica has been nominated for 2 New Hampshire Theater Awards and 8 Spotlight on the Arts Awards, for Best Actress, of which she won in 2015 for her portrayal of Lady Macbeth at The Rochester Opera House. In addition to owning her own production company, Back Alley Productions, with co-founder Joi Smith, Danica spent a month performing at The Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2013 with her comedy troop Darwin’s Waiting Room, of which she has been a member since 2007.

Danica Carlson

Meet the Stage Beauty Cast: Christopher Savage

 

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Christopher Savage as Alcock in The Libertine 2010

Christopher Savage (King Charles II)

Christopher Savage was born in Rhode Island, raised in New Hampshire, and trained at the North Carolina School of the Arts. After wandering the country for a bit, he settled back in New Hampshire and has been acting and directing in the seacoast area for over twenty years. Past favorite roles include – but are not limited to: George in the Sharp Dressed Men series, Uncle Peck in How I Learned to Drive, Cody in Best Enemies, El Gallo in The Fantasticks, the title role in ‘the Scottish play’, Dr. Shocker in Gay Bride of Frankenstein, Lloyd in Noises Off, and Louis in Isles in the Moon. He sends out big love to his sweetheart Grady and his precious girl Jessica.

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Meet the Stage Beauty Cast: Billy Butler

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Billy Butler as Edward Kynaston. Photo by M. Lavigne Photography

Billy Butler will portray Edward Kynaston in Compleat Female Stage Beauty

It’s been a busy year for Billy: Playing Tiger in Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo with Veterans In Performing Arts (VIPA), Jack and Jesus in Reefer Madness, Frankenfurter in The Rocky Horror Show, and Mickey in Hurly Burly, as well as having produced, music directed, and performed a show of his own music (here at the Players’ Ring and with Genesys Theater in Nashua, NH) in Bitter Pill: The Songs of Billy Butler.

Billy will be directing The Buddy Holly Story in July at Hackmatack Playhouse and next year Bitter Pill (lead by Billy) will be closing out The Players’ Ring 26th season by producing and directing Titus Andronicus by William Shakespeare. He has a long and proud history in this building and considers The Players’ Ring his artistic home. He has premiered all of his original work here (and will continue to do so as long as they let him) – Weapons of Mass ConstructionGay Bride of FrankensteinMissing: Wynter, and Bitter Pill.

As an actor at the Players’ Ring he has appeared as Jamie in The Last Five Years, as Dan in Next to Normal (both of which he also produced.) He has directed Star-crossedWarmth of the ColdGay Bride of Frankenstein, and Missing: Wynter (also producer of the latter three).

In 2007 Billy received the Excellence in American Theatre Award by the New England Theatre Council. He is also the winner of lots of Lucite from local and regional awards. In 2015 he wrote the music and lyrics for Cynthia von Buhler’s 1920s immersive show, Ziegfeld’s Midnight Frolic, where he ended up playing and singing all of his songs at The Liberty Theatre on 42nd street.

Billy is also an accomplished musician. He just finished his latest solo acoustic album, Facebook Live From the South Meeting House. His other albums include The Lot 20 SessionsNeptuneGay Bride of Frankenstein Workshop SoundtrackBlue Rhapsody, and To the Depth of Jazz. He has also contributed to countless other artists’ studio recordings.

Billy currently lives in Rye Beach, NH with his wife and muse Paula and their two cats, Jack and Purrl.

More info faceboook.com/bitterpilltoswallow or bandcamp.com/billybutler

Billy Butler