photo by Robin Davis / Pictured, from left, Bryan Toole, Susie Hallatt, Samille Basler, Ross Magoulas
Do four retired English opera singers have what it takes to put on a concert again? Find out as The Footlight Players perform “Quartet,” a poignant comedy running Sept. 11-27 at The Footlight Theatre, 20 Queen St.
Set in a home for retired musicians, three of the former opera singers are planning their annual concert to celebrate the composer Verdi’s birthday. But everything is disrupted by the arrival of Jean, an eternal diva and the former wife of one of the residents. Is there any chance these four will ever sing together? Three of the four are keen to recreate the third act quartet from “Rigoletto,” but Jean still acts like a diva and refuses to sing. The show must go on … but how?
“Quartet” is directed by Don Brandenburg with assistant director Lisa Benson. Brandenburg – an actor, director and producer with more than 75 shows to his credit – describes the performance as “touching, funny, sometimes bawdy and an intensely honest play about the onset of old age.”
He adds, “I have thoroughly enjoyed being in the company of this quartet of superb actors, who have brought an eager, thoughtful and skilled approach to Ronald Harwood’s words. They have breathed life into four distinct characters whose fortunes and varied outlook on life make us reflect on our own principles and life’s accomplishments.”
Shows are at 8 p.m. Sept. 11, 12, 18, 19, 24, 25 and 26 with matinees at 3 p.m. Sept. 13, 20 and 27. Tickets are $30 for adults; $27 for seniors/military and $20 for students. Order tickets online at footlightplayers.net or by calling the box office at 843-722-4487.
Written by playwright Ronald Harwood, “Quartet” was first performed on stage in 1999. Directed by Dustin Hoffman, "Quartet" was a film in 2012 starring Maggie Smith, Tom Courtenay, Billy Connolly and Pauline Collins.
- Ross Magoulas (“Reginald “Reggie”) – A long-time college music teacher, Magoulas has been in several productions with Footlight Players as well as Midtown Productions, Village Playhouse and Charleston Stage. He also has been an opera singer with productions around the country.
- Bryan Toole (Wilfred “Wilf”) – Having grown up in Australia and later lived in Boston, Toole moved to Charleston in 2003 and caught the acting bug. He has been in productions with Footlight as well as Charleston Stage. Toole is a research professor at MUSC Hollings Cancer Center.
- Susie Hallatt (Cecily “Cissy”) – Hallatt has been in previous Footlight productions as well as performances with Charleston Stage and Village Playhouse. She works at the College of Charleston.
- Samille Basler (Jean) – A retired school teacher and medical librarian, Theatre Charleston Best Actress winner Basler has performed all over the South and for more than 20 years in Charleston, including Charleston Stage, Midtown Production, Village Playhouse and What If? Productions.