A message from Athena Adamson, newly-elected Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Westport Country Playhouse.
Since the day our barn doors opened in 1931, The Westport Country Playhouse has been graced by the brightest of stars — heroes of the theater like Liza Minnelli, Eartha Kitt, Jessica Tandy, Henry Fonda, Gene Wilder, Olivia de Havilland, James Earl Jones, and Eva Gabor.
Under the guidance of Playhouse founder Lawrence Langner and legends like Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman, we have stayed true to our mission yet continually evolved. I personally am forever grateful to Ania Czekaj-Farber, Mark Lamos, and all the Playhouse leaders, past and present, who believe in the power of live performance and cherish this special place.
Earlier this week, the full Board of Trustees elected me, a new Vice Chair, and Executive Committee members to pursue a clear objective: fill this Playhouse and fulfill its mission.
I know it won’t be easy. The past few years have been a rocky time for theaters nationwide. Pandemic shutdowns, streaming media, and younger generations’ entertainment preferences present real challenges. The costs of first-rate productions have skyrocketed, and ticket revenue has not kept pace. As attendance drops and audience connection frays, engagement and donations wane. Unfortunately, our community is not immune and our Playhouse is in a tenuous financial position.
But as I introduce myself to you, I am full of constructive optimism. Despite the changing landscape and challenges we face, I’m confident that together we will manage through this crisis and emerge stronger. I say that because I know two things to be true:
(1) People of every generation live fuller, more joyful lives when they connect in person through live performances, artistry, and the exchange of ideas.
(2) Our community rallies when it matters.
Our plan is to make this YOUR Playhouse. We envision a place for Westport and its neighboring communities to gather and enjoy world-class live performance – from theater, music, dance, and comedy, to a speaker series with artists, thought-leaders, athletes, and industry titans. If you love the shows and programming we’re delivering, you’ll come and you’ll want to come back. You’ll buy tickets, you’ll invite your friends, you’ll get involved, you’ll donate, and you’ll help us grow.
We will soon launch a fundraising campaign to save and transform The Playhouse. With your input and support, the Board and our wonderful staff will deliver exciting and educational programming to engage every generation. We ask you to join us, to come to our beautiful theater, and to help us ensure that the Westport Country Playhouse lives up to its legacy and flourishes for generations to come.
Board Chair, Westport Country Playhouse