Get your tickets to see Shirley Jackson's Classic Come to Life on Stage
The Cumberland Theatre continued its 34th Season with the opening of The Haunting of Hill House this past weekend. The show continues this weekend and next weekend, closing on Sunday October 23rd.
Based on the Shirley Jackson novel of the same name, the show centers on Hill House, cut off from the outside world by its remote location and shunned by all who know its forbidding and sinister reputation. The story has had many adaptations over the years, including radio shows, two Hollywood films and, most recently, the Netflix series, which is very loosely based on the original novel.
The stage version follows Jackson’s story more closely than other adaptations, relying mostly on suspense instead of big visual scares. Hill House has remained empty and silent for years except for the daily visits of its grumbling caretaker and his wife. Its isolation is broken by the arrival of Dr. Montague, an investigator of supernatural phenomena who has been granted a short lease by the present owner. His mission is to delve into the morbid history of the house and to come to grips with the occult forces that have made it uninhabitable for many years. He is joined by three others, all unacquainted, but all having their particular reasons for accepting the invitation to share his Hill House sojourn. Their visit begins with jovial informality, but their sensibilities are soon jolted by strange and eerie occurrences. As they struggle to disguise their mounting fears they are joined by Dr. Montague’s wife and a friend, who have come to Hill House for purposes of their own. They too are absorbed by the supernatural, but their approach is via direct communication with the departed spirits which brings on a crisis in which the evil forces of Hill House are goaded to a new and fatal fury.
The show features the CT debut of New York based actor Sage Newman, who will head the cast as Eleanor. They have appeared in were most recently seen as Berowne in Love’s Labour’s Lost with Irvington Shakespeare Company. Earlier this year, they appeared off-Broadway in FunikiJam World Music’s production of Shenanigans: Irish Celebration!
Returning to CT are Krystal Pope as Theodora, Reed Lancaster as Luke, Samantha Kennedy as Mrs. Montague, Erik Alexis as Arthur, Sean Besecker as Dr. Montague and Lura Thompson as Mrs. Dudley. Pope is a native of Arizona and was last seen at CT as Kendra in American Son. Lancaster appeared as Dally in The Outsiders and Ross in this season’s Macbeth. Kennedy’s recent appearances include August: Osage County and Company. Besecker was last seen as Macduff in Macbeth and has also appeared in Assassins, The Great Gatsby and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Thompson as been performing at CT for many years and has appeared in To Kill a Mockingbird, The Full Monty and Sweeny Todd among many more.
The show is under the direction of Jennifer Clark with stage management by Hayden Kline. The creative team consists of Rhett Wolford (set/sound design), Brendon McCabe (lighting design), Kimberli Rowley (props design) and Elizabeth Mudge (costume design). The run crew consists of Trevor McCabe (light/sound tech) and Thomas Kifer (deck crew).
Performances are Thursday – Saturday at 8:00 pm and Sundays at 2:00 pm. For tickets, visit www.cumberlandtheatre.com or call 301.759.4990.