Tag Archives: Peter Molesworth

Wherefore Art Thou, Clay And Peter?

When Clay Singer was a musical theater major at Carnegie Mellon University, regional theaters often visited campus. Seeing “Westport, Connecticut” on the 2013 Staples graduate’s resume, they’d mention the Playhouse. That’s when Singer realized the major impact his hometown has had on the theatrical world.

In 2008, freshman Peter Molesworth saw nearly every Staples Players production of “Romeo and Juliet.” Noah Witke and Brittany Uomoleale — the 2 leads — awed him.

Now Singer and Molesworth have their own chances to star.

In “Romeo and Juliet.”

At the Westport Country Playhouse.

Singer plays Peter, and Molesworth is Balthasar, in the Playhouse’s first-ever production of William Shakespeare’s classic. It opens October 31, and runs through November 19.

Clay Singer

Singer — who has been busy doing new works and studio shows in New York since graduating last spring from Carnegie Mellon — always dreamed of acting on the Westport Country Playhouse stage. When he heard they were casting “Romeo and Juliet” he sent in his head shot, freshened up his monologues, and auditioned for artistic director Mark Lamos.

Three days later, Singer was in rehearsals.

“Mark knows everything about Shakespeare,” the young actor says. “And our dramaturg, Milla Riggio, is amazing too. We break down every scene, talking about literary structure and rhetorical devices. I’m so lucky to be experiencing all that.”

Singer calls this production “a wonderful transition from theater education to my career. I feel like I’m back in a classroom, but in a professional setting.”

Of course, he’s also back in his home town.

After his first rehearsal, Singer “almost laughed” as he drove down the Post Road. It reminded him of all those years driving home from Players events or voice lessons.

He lives in New York now. But his Playhouse role brings him back to Westport.

And his mother is happy to make him dinner.

Peter Molesworth

Molesworth feels equally happy to be back in town. He appeared in several Players shows, then spent senior year at Walnut Hill in Massachusetts.

After graduating in 2011, he attended NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. He studied in Florence, then started a theater company called Cue for Passion Collaborative. They concentrate on Shakespeare.

In 2008, Moleworth had served as a Joanne Woodward Apprentice at the Westport Country Playhouse. He did tech work, helped on the run crew, manned the concession stand and took acting classes.

He continued working concessions and in the box office for the next 3 years, and loved it.

Like Singer, he auditioned for Lamos. Now Molesworth feels he’s come full circle.

“This is the place where I first invested in my career in a substantial way,” he says. “Having one of my first professional acting jobs at the Playhouse is wonderful.”

He’s come full circle in another way too. As a Staples junior, Molesworth assistant directed “The Children’s Hour.” Singer — a freshman — was in the cast.

Of course, Molesworth will never forget those “Romeo and Juliet” productions he saw when he was in 9th grade. One of the most compelling scenes was when Balthasar tells Romeo that Juliet is dead. Now it’s his role.

“I remember so clearly seeing that at Staples,” he says. “That alone makes it serendipitous for me. This is a classical play. It’s re-entered my life, with potent meaning.”

(For tickets and more information, click here or call 203-227-4177.)

The cast of “Romeo and Juliet,” at the Westport Country Playhouse. Clay Singer is standing, 3rd from left; Peter Molesworth is standing, 3rd from right. (Photo/Peter Chenot)

 

Act One

Staples Players is known for many things: spectacular mainstage shows.  Innovative Black Box productions.  Last spring’s amazing 50th anniversary reunion.

Less well known is the One Act Festival.

This year’s event — the 10th annual — continues an intriguing tradition.  Students take charge of every aspect:  They find 1-act plays; they cast them, design sets, create costumes, and of course direct them.  All students are members of David Roth’s Directing class.

This year’s show features 17 1-acts — comedy, drama, you name it — by writers as diverse as Edgar Allan Poe, Dorothy Parker and J.D. Salinger.  None is longer than 10 minutes.  They’ll be presented Saturday (5 and 8 p.m.) and Sunday (5 p.m.).  Not every play will be staged at each performance.

One Act participants (clockwise from upper left): Peter Molesworth, Max Samuels, Greg Langstine, Caley Beretta (Photo by Kerry Long)

For 3 years, senior Caley Beretta has served as an assistant director for Roth.  This weekend she steps onto the stage — for her 1st time at Staples — as an actor in “The DMV Tyrant” (a comedy, of course).

“It’s so much fun being on the other side of things,” she says.  “Other people who are usually on tech have gotten the chance to act as well.  One Acts gives everyone the opportunity to try something different.  That’s awesome.”

“DMV” is the 1st real directing effort for actor Peter Molesworth.  The junior “loves the atmosphere of working with a small group of actors.  There is a dynamic present when working with students your own age.  They have respect and sympathy for the work you put in, and everything else going on outside of rehearsal.”

He adds:  “It’s also fun to see Caley — who has always been in a directing or leadership role — step down into the actor’s shoes.  They fit her flawlessly.”

Peter appreciates playwright Christopher Durang’s simple script.  “It leaves so much room for interpretation,” the novice director says.

Junior Max Samuels is directing “Normal.”  The set is very simple; the subject matter, deep (a father-son relationship).  “It has a great ending that will make the audience teary-eyed,” Max promises.

Junior Greg Langstine chose to direct “The Audition” because it’s a comedy.  “I put myself in place of the audience,” he explains.  “Laughter is the best way to go.”

Peter Molesworth calls the One Act Festival environment “very nurturing and open.  It gives underclassmen an opportunity to shine, either on stage or directing.

“One Acts are pure fun,” he adds.  “It’s Staples Players at its root.  It’s up close in the Black Box, and incredibly vulnerable for a lot of people.  It’s so much of ourselves that it’s sort of frightening.  That also makes it so exciting.”

(For ticket information, click here.)