‘Watch on the Rhine’ to lead off Church Hill’s 2019 season
CHURCH HILL — Mary James will direct Church Hill Theatre’s first 2019 show, Lillian Hellman’s “Watch on the Rhine.”
Life magazine called it a “most eloquent” anti-nazi statement and audiences responded favorably to the 1941 play and the 1943 film version starring Bette Davis.
Seventy-five years later, the play is experiencing renewed appreciation for its gripping plot and support for democratic values, a news release states.
“Watch on the Rhine” takes place near Washington, D.C., just before the outbreak of World War II, at the wealthy Farrelly home. Tensions arise when Fanny Farrelly’s visiting daughter and her German anti-fascist husband interact with a titled Romanian houseguest.
“Watch on the Rhine” received the 1941 New York Drama Critics’ Circle award for the best play and was widely praised for its antinazi theme.
Mary James, with substantial experience at St. Martin’s Community Theatre and the Colonial Players, has chosen a cast of experienced Church Hill Theatre actors and a few newcomers for the CHT production.
Jane Copple takes on the role of Fanny Farrelly, a wealthy and well-connected Washington, DC matron who is perhaps too used to getting her own way. Fanny’s daughter, Sara Mueller, portrayed by Darlene Greer, has returned with her German husband and children, visiting for the first time in 20 years.
Robert Mcgrory plays Kurt Mueller, a former engineer and anti-nazi activist. Their children, Joshua, Babette and Bodo, are portrayed by Lisa Wojehowski, Calla Mccluskey and Connor Christopher.
Complicating matters are Fanny’s houseguests, the sinisterly attractive Count Teck de Brancovis, played by Will Robinson, and his Americanborn wife Marthe, played by Genevieve Croker.
Howard Messick portrays Fanny’s lawyer son David, a man whose comfortable world is rapidly changing. Sheila Austrian plays Fanny’s French housekeeper/companion Anise and Jim Johnson plays the Farrelly’s butler Joseph.
“Watch on the Rhine” will open on Jan. 18 and run until Feb. 3. Performances are at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and at 2 p.m. Sundays. Reservations can be made online at churchhilltheatre.org or by calling 410-556-6003.
“Watch on the Rhine,” opens Jan. 18 at Church Hill Theatre. Cast members, from left, are, standing, Robert Mcgrory, Darlene Greer and Will Robinson; seated, Howard Messick, Lisa Wojehowski and Jane Copple.