Stephen Kitsakos, director of the Studios of Key West production of “Here’s Your Hat, What’s Your Hurry?” calls the play “a bittersweet affair.” It is the final play written by talented Key West and New York playwright Eric H. Weinberger, who passed away last spring. Kitsakos calls the comedy, which Weinberger adapted from the short story by National Book Award nominee Elizabeth McCracken, a “celebration of his wit, humor and good nature.” Kitsakos, who is also the vice president of the board of The Studios of Key West and an artistic associate, was able to work with Weinberger in his final days and is excited to present the world premiere of “Here’s Your Hat, What’s Your Hurry?”
And the play is humorous. Mirroring great characters like Auntie Mame and Miss Marple, actress Kitty Clements brings to life Aunt Helen Beck who arrives at the home of her hippie-ish great-nephew Ford (Joseph Mitchell) and his wife Chris (Morgan Fraga) in Puget Sound. She meddles in their home and marriage and befriends a neglected 8-year old neighbor, Mercury (Jake Ferguson).
“Combined with his wicked and subtle humor, Eric’s skill as a playwright helped develop the characters from McCracken’s short story beautifully, giving them a complexity and depth that works perfectly for the stage,” said Kitsakos.
With only four actors, the cast is seasoned, with Clements who last appeared on The Studios’ stage last year as Mother Superior in Fringe’s production of “Agnes of God” along with Fraga. Mitchell recently appeared in “The Apple Falls” and Jake Ferguson, only 10, was last onstage in Waterfront Playhouse’s production of Terrence McNally’s “Mothers and Sons.”
“Eric sent me the play to read in late 2016 and I thought it had so many comic elements perfect for the stage, and a lot of the charm from McCracken’s story,” said Kitsakos. “But there was still a bit of work to be done to shape the script and clarify the character.” Kitsakos was able to revise and cast the play with Weinberger before his passing in May 2017. “He was able to sit at a joyful table at The Studios and listen to a reading of his revised script.”
The play is a fitting tribute to a prolific and funny playwright. Weinberger’s previous plays have included “A Dog Story” at The Waterfront Playhouse, co-written with Gayla Morgan, and also Off-Broadway; “Wanda’s World” for AMAS; “I Love Ethel: the Story of Vivian Vance,” as well as “And Then I Wrote A Song About It,” both for The Red Barn. He received a Drama Desk nomination for “Wanda’s World” as well as his “Class Mothers ’68” starring Priscilla Lopez.
Tickets are $55 for VIP seating, $38 general admission and $30 for Studios members and can be purchased at The Studios of Key West’s box office, by phone at 305-296-0458, or online at www.tskw.org.
“Here’s Your Hat, What’s Your Hurry?”
Friday-Sunday, Jan. 5-7, 8 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 6 matinee, 3 p.m.
The Studios of Key West, 533 Eaton St.