Daniel Rattner ’13, the artistic director for Princeton Summer Theater, has ambitious travel plans for the next two months — on stage, at least.
He’s selected a season of plays designed to take audiences on a tour of Europe and a weekend getaway to upstate New York, all while seated in the cozy confines of the Hamilton Murray Theater.
“We wanted to provide shows that took people to totally different places,” Rattner says. “So we have a play set in Sweden, one in London, one in Paris, and then one set in the Catskills. The idea, with different time periods and different locations, is that you step into the theater and feel like you’re in a different world entirely.”
The season begins tonight with the debut performance of A Little Night Music. Below, Rattner describes each play, in order of performance. For showtimes and tickets, visit princetonsummertheater.org.
A Little Night Music
“After I heard the music, which I absolutely loved, I went back and I read the book, and it was just as strong as the music,” Rattner says of the Stephen Sondheim musical. “It disguises itself as this farce, this sort of midsummer night’s comedy, and by the end it turns into a really elegiac, romantic musical. … It seemed perfect for this time of year and this small, intimate theater.”
Patrick Hamilton’s psychological thriller is “one of the best mystery plays that I’ve read,” Rattner says. “The lead is Sara Paton ’13. She plays a woman who is going mad — her husband is convincing her that she’s going insane — and then this mysterious inspector shows up and the plot thickens from there.” Princeton lecturer Robert Sandberg ’70 will direct the production.
Rattner calls Boeing-Boeing a “prime example” of a 1960s farce. The play follows the adventures of an American bachelor who lives in Paris and dates three flight attendants simultaneously, carefully tracking their flight schedules. “Then of course, one day they all arrive on the same day … and chaos ensues,” he says.
The American Plan
Tony Award-winner Richard Greenberg ’80 is undoubtedly Princeton’s best-known alumni playwright, but his end-of-summer romance, first mounted in 1990, is a newcomer to the campus stage. It was one of the first plays Rattner read when he began thinking about the summer season. “As soon as I closed it, it stayed in my mind and I couldn’t quite shake it loose,” he says. “It’s a play that I really hoped to bring to this community.”