The Fantasticks, with Dick McCarty playing one of the fathers. This was during the Players' wandering years which included their new home, The Suffield VFW! Perhaps not so fantastic, but beggars can't be choosy!
Plans are underway of the spring production Cat on a Hot Tin Roof directed by Waldo Goodermote and starring Gary McQuillan and Beth Branson as Brick and Maggie. George Dawson plays Big Daddy, Nadine Glover is Mae, and Dot McCarty makes her first stage appearance as Big Mama. Her husband Dick, who just finished a role with Stage West, appears as Reverend Tooker.
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof opens to excellent reviews. Trevens of The Springfield Daily News calls it "a fine little theatre production of which all involved can share director Waldo Goodermote's delight in their good work." Dottie McCarty made her Player debut as Big Mama and "distinguished herself in a very touching and realistic portrayal."
"Extraordinary engagement...Lily the Felon's Daughter was hilarious and complete" so wrote the Springfield Daily News. Reid of the Journal Inquirer call Lily "a delightfully executed melodrama."
This fall production was directed by Waldo Goodermote and featured such familiar Players as Lorraine Dieli, Ginny Keir, Helen Jaehing, Dick McCarty (who "as Jonas Fairweather was delightful") and Jody Akeley (who as Miss Ophelia "spans the vocal range from warbling tremors to a throaty torcher"). The program was hand-lettered by Dotty McCarty to look like an old-time Vaudeville playbill.
The grand period piece Lion in Winter is produced in April which received raves such as: "This theatrical group displays a rare passion for authenticity...it's a knockout...Gordon Glover is masterly as King Henry...Nadine Glover (Eleanor) is simply sensational." So writes Rowland of the J.I. No less complimentary is Hart of The Springfield News: "Crisp direction, dazzling costumes, two fantastic lead performances." Nadine created those costumes and would, 10 years later, return to win costume awards for another period piece, Tartuffe.
A collection of one-act plays is presented at Mapleton Hall in December. Hart of the Springfield Daily News called them "sugared soufflés--well set, more than adequately acted and crisply directed." I'm Herbert brought together Lorraine Dieli and Dick McCarty, and The Marriage Proposal brought kudos to Gary McQuillan, Ed Yusk, Sue Buntling whose portrayals were billed "hysterical", "explosive" and "sparkling."
Thornton Wilder's farce, The Matchmaker, brought together such popular and long-time Players at Art Jaehing, Gary McQuillan, Lorraine Dieli, Jodie Akeley and Norma Cobb (who played Dolly Levi). The show also marked the first time Richard McCarty and daughter Kit McCarty played on the stage together. It was also the stage debut of Owen and Betsy's son Roger Hedden and John Quenneville (who also was the stage manager and producer!). Waldo Goodermote directed...again!
Dirty Work at the Crossroads opens and Waldo Goodermote directs this "absolutely delightful evening out" (Southwick/Suffield News). Player favorites are Jodie Akeley, Wilf Roy, Norma Cobb and Nadine Glover. Lots of Boos and Hisses and even a Gay Nineties sing-along led by Lorraine Dieli.
The Seahorse was a mini-show produced as part of Suffield's Octoberfest, directed by Gordon Glover. Performed on a makeshift stage in a barn off Main Street, the setting was perfect for the gutsy, earthy performances of Nadine Glover and Wilf Roy. Later that month, Picnic was directed by Waldo Goodermote and featured Player favorites Jodie Akeley, Lorraine Dieli and Dick McCarty. Making their Suffield debuts were Amy Spear, Bill Marsele and Sally Hamlin.
Any Number Can Die, a clever who-dun-it of the "Ten Little Indians" genre, is the spring production. Acclaimed "a first-rate production," kudos went to the techies: Bob Close for set, Owen Hedden for lights and Dave Overson, who made his debut as sound man. The cast was a mix of "old timers" Art Jaehing, Jodie Akeley, Judy Butler, Norma Cobb and Dick McCarty and new Players Mark Lillibridge and President Wilf Roy. It also marked the debut of Chris Akeley and Lyle Pearsons as the butler. (Guess who did it?)