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Playhouse on Park to Hold New Play Reading Outdoors at Hill-Stead Museum

From the Porch - A Summer Series at the Hill-Stead Museum. Courtesy photo

West Hartford’s Playhouse on Park will participate in the Hill-Stead Museum’s ‘From the Porch – A Summer Series’ with the reading of a new play on July 12.


The Hill-Stead Museum’s 152-acre campus, located in Farmington, CT, will host a completely outdoor summer series.

Playhouse on Park will join with a reading of Todd Olson’s new play “Althea & Angela on Sunday, July 12 (rain date Monday, July 13) at 6:30 p.m. (Gates open at 6 p.m.)

This reading of “Althea & Angela” is directed by Sean Harris and includes a post-show talk back with the cast and director.

In 1955, Althea Gibson and Angela Buxton were world-ranked tennis players … yet no one wanted to partner with them in women’s doubles. In fact, few even wanted to talk with them. Post-War America was still very segregated and the tennis world was still very anti-Semitic. Eight years after Jackie Robinson had broken the color line in major league baseball, the tennis world lagged behind, clinging to its country club roots.

Althea, a black woman from Harlem, and Angela, a Jewish woman from Liverpool, were outcasts in two nations. So they decided to join forces outside their own country – and what happened then made history.

“Althea & Angela” tells the story of their meeting at an exhibition game in New Delhi, pairing up, and winning the French Open and Wimbledon – the first Grand Slam events that any African-American – male or female – had ever accomplished. It also tells the story of the unlikely events that occurred 40 years later, when one fell upon destitute times … and the other saved her life by a mass appeal to the tennis world.

Playwright Todd Olson has had his works produced at The Actor’s Theatre of Louisville (My Way), Milwaukee Rep (I Left My Heart), and American Stage Theatre Company (Casa Blue, the last moments in the life of frida kahlo). New adaptations include Lysistrata and War of the Worlds (premiered at American Stage), and Dracula (premiered at the Arkansas Shakespeare Festival). His Joe Corso Re-Enters from the Wings won the 2012 Holland New Voices Playwright Award at the Great Plains Theatre Conference. Plays which have enjoyed professional readings include Citizen Thorpe (American Stage), Hurricane Brothers (Treefort Productions, Sarasota), and Section 60 (Florida Musical Theatre Festival, music by Waldo Wittenmyer and Michael Huseman). Undeveloped works include The Wanderer Finds Liberty in America, Outside the Living Body, and his autobiographical Uber Chronicles: A True Story About a Harvard Grad’s 600 Rides While Job Hunting.

Olson received his M.F.A. from The University of North Carolina. He is a graduate of the Institute for Advanced Theatre Training at Harvard where he took classes with David Mamet, Peter Sellars, Andrei Serban, Anna Deveare Smith, and Robert Brustein, among others. Olson has been a Teaching Fellow at Harvard, and taught classes at Vanderbilt, Boston University, and the University of North Carolina. 

Tickets are $25; they will not be sold at the door. You can order tickets through Playhouse on Park online at www.playhouseonpark.org, over the phone at 860-523-5900 x10, or in person at 244 Park Road, West Hartford, CT. 06119.

Please note Playhouse on Park’s abbreviated hours due to COVID-19: 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Friday or by appointment.

On the night of the event, you will not need a physical ticket; your name and the size of your party will be on a list at the gate. Bring your own beverages, food, chairs/blankets and masks. Masks must be warn unless you are in your pod.

The Hill-Stead Museum is located at 35 Mountain Rd., Farmington, CT 06032. For more information, visit their website at www.Hillstead.org

In addition to the play reading, Playhouse on Park will present Comedy Night on July 15 and Aug. 21, as well as a Broadway-style cabaret on Aug. 26. 

A message from the Hill-Stead Museum:

The health and safety of our guests and employees is our number one priority. An inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public place where people are present. In the interest of your personal safety and community health, please observe all the precautions listed here:

  • Guests are advised to practice physical distancing by standing at least 6 feet away from other groups of people not traveling with them while standing in lines and moving around the property
  • Children must stay with adults at all times and a minimum of 6 feet distance must be maintained between all other non-family members
  • Face masks should be worn by all visitors six years of age and above
  • Hand sanitizer dispensers will be placed at entrances and high contact areas
  • A first aid station will be accessible. 

Hill-Stead employees have already pre-marked spaces on the lawn for your group. Upon arrival, guests will be escorted to a pre-marked space on the west lawn by an employee wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). We are closely monitoring government policy changes, Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines, government mandates, and public health advancements and will continue to make changes as necessary or appropriate to our protocols and procedures.

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