Little Theatre of Manchester spreads ‘Rumors’

By Martha Marteney - Staff Writer
Manchester - posted Mon., Feb. 14, 2011
The ladies of Neil Simon's 'Rumors' give very different reactions to the evening's offerings by Cookie, played by Jane Maulucci of Bloomfield. (L to r) Chris is played by Debi Freund, of Bolton, Claire is Virginia Freese, of Avon, and Cassie is Latoya Williams, of Manchester. Photos courtesy of Little Theatre of Manchester. - Contributed Photo

Little Theatre of Manchester’s 2011 season begins Feb. 25, with the Neil Simon farce, “Rumors.”

According to the press release issued by LTM Executive Director Joyce Hodgson, the play is about four couples who gather to celebrate their hosts’ 10th wedding anniversary. When the guests arrive, they discover that the help and the hostess are missing, and the host has shot himself in the head. Though only a flesh wound, the attempt to cover up the incident becomes more outrageous, as the guests cannot remember who has been told what about whom.

South Windsor resident Sara Logan is directing the play. Logan has been involved with LTM for 13 years as an actor, director, chair of the artistic commission and currently chair of the governing board. “The thing that’s exciting about directing is to see something come off the page and come alive,” said Logan. 

In describing the Neil Simon play, Logan explained, “We picked it because we wanted something the audience could laugh at and enjoy, and walk away feeling good.” The set is the last one designed by Fred Blish, with seven doors and multiple staircases, all used to their full potential for the gags in the play. 

Sal Uccello comes from Middletown to Manchester to perform with LTM. “This is my creative outlet,” said Uccello, who works in Information Technology. “I like the group here. They’re very friendly and welcoming.” He plays Ken Gorman, the attorney who discovers the man who shot himself. “It’s ridiculous and funny,” he said, “but that’s what a farce is.”

“I love comedy,” said Manchester resident Latoya Williams, “especially fast-paced comedy.” Williams plays Cassie Cooper, the trophy wife of the local politician whose purpose seems to be to give her husband a hard time, because he might be having an affair. She last performed with LTM in “The Man Who Came to Dinner.”

According to Bolton resident Debi Freund, 90 percent of the LTM volunteers are not on stage. Freund is the artistic chair of LTM, as well as an actor in “Rumors.”  “This is our year of the volunteer,” explained Freund, “to recruit, to train, and to thank our volunteers.” In addition to actors, LTM needs people to help build the sets, gather props, usher during the performances, and a variety of other tasks.  “The one thing we all have in common,” she added, “is our love of theater.” The set crew meets every Wednesday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon at Cheney Hall. Freund said everyone is welcome to come in for a coffee and a doughnut, “and wear your grungies,” she added.

“I love the LTM community,” said James Demetriades, of Cromwell, whose father, Nick Demetriades, is in the cast. Although James said he loves acting, this year he is out of the limelight as properties assistant. He is responsible for making sure the right props are in the right place at the right time. 

Manchester resident Carol Eckert and Tolland resident Beverly Clements are also helping out backstage. “I’m an LTM member, and my husband does sets,” said Eckert, “so I decided to do my part.”

“I joined to meet people,” explained Clements. “I was looking for something new, and the people seem to be very nice and helpful.”

“Rumors” will run for three weekends, Feb. 25 through March 13, with the Friday and Saturday shows beginning at 8 p.m., and the Sunday matinees beginning at 2 p.m. Single tickets range from $24 to $17 and can be purchased online at or through the LTM box office at 860-647-9824.  Subscriptions to the entire 2011 season are also available, with tickets from $9 to $26. Cheney Hall, the state’s oldest operating theater, is located at 177 Hartford Road in Manchester.

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