Review: "Light Up the Sky" at Westport Community Theatre

William Goldberg

Light Up the Sky is one of those plays that I don't understand why it's not performed more. It's a wonderful play-within-a-play comedy style, featuring crazy characters in a classic setting. The, now closed production, which ran at the Westport Community Theatre was a perfect example of why this show needs to appear on more stages. 

The comedy revolves around a group of New York theatre-folk who attend the opening of their new play in Boston. The lead actress, the backer, and several others, are in seventh heaven at the prospect of a tremendous success which they hope for in the work of a young unknown writer. The opening of the play, which is a very earnest and experimental work, is such as to lead the cast, director and backer to believe it a flop. Instantly they turn against themselves, the production, the author and savagely proceed in what looks like an attempt to destroy themselves and all their former hopes.

It turns out, however, that in spite of the curious reception by the first night audience, the play has made a deep impression, and when news spreads that the reviews are on the whole favorable, the tables are turned. 

The cast here was particularly strong. They held a firm grasp of Hart's 1940's wit and pace of a dialog which made the show feel all the more genuine. Director Ruth Anne Baumgartner more than proved her understanding of the genre. The excellent ensemble cast included Timothy Brandt, John Fatteross, Bia Hittman, Cindy Hartog ,Mark Lambeck, Phillip Lorenzo, Jonathan Jacobson, Leigh Katz, Sunny Makwana, P.J. Morello, Rosanne Nelson, Tom Rushen and Ward Whipple. All gave top-notch performances.

This play was not a bad way to spend an amusing two hours experiencing what really goes on before the curtain rises in a theater. Westport Community Theatre has had a very strong season thus far. I'm looking forward to seeing what else is in store. 

This show has now closed. Westpost's next show is Private Lives which opens on April 8th.