Tuesday, August 23, 2016


If you have known the glamor and excitement of performing arias in front of thousands, being relegated to a rocking chair may be a fate worse than permanent laryngitis.  Retirement may be the goal and envy of many, but for four aging opera singers it is like an appointment to perform for an audience of one, Dr. Kevorkian.

The Sharon Playhouse has your Adirondack chair ready on the porch for you to relax in, to enjoy “”Quartet” by Ronald Harwood until Sunday, August 28.  There’s no need to prepare a performance piece from “Carmen” for this talented troupe whose applause has echoed into obscurity.  Now they call The Retirement Home for Artists their final stage and it is as welcome as a balloon without helium, a garden without roses and a refrigerator without caviar.

Come meet the “inmates,” Cissy (Patricia McAneny), Reggie (Joseph Hindy) and Wilfred (Greg Mullavey) as they wile away the hours, fussing about a lack of marmalade with their breakfast toast and listening to great music from their past successes on headphones.  They come to life when they learn a new arrival is at the door: Jean Horton (Elizabeth Franz).

How will Jean’s unexpected presence change the dynamics of the trio?  Will Wilfred still employ sexual antics for Cissy’s benefit?  Will Reggie confess he was once briefly married to Jean?  A crisis of anticipation emerges when the “quartet” is invited to sing the finale of “Rigoletto” at the October 10 birthday celebration of Giuseppe Verdi.  Why does Jean refuse to take part?  Can the others persuade her of the wonder of this honor?  John Simpkins directs this gentle foray into the aging process and the price it costs.

For tickets ($20-47), call the Sharon Playhouse, 49 Amenia road, Sharon at 860-364-7469 or online at www.sharonplayhouse.org.  Performances are Tuesday to Friday at 7 p.m., Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m.

Can these four, who knew the glory of fame on stage, back in the day, momentarily fling off the ravages of age and triumph once again?

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