by Richard Greenberg
October 12 - November 3, 2007
Directed by Rhonda Clark
If you knew the future, would
you change what you do today? Richard Greenberg's
Jazz-Age fantasy "The Violet Hour" places its main character in that interesting
It's April 1, 1919, and America is in transition following the Great War.
Likewise, the characters in "The Violet Hour" are on the cusp of change.
Seavering, a Princeton graduate, has returned from the war and is inaugurating
his publishing company in Manhattan. As he and his office assistant
pore over manuscripts, John is trying to decide what
book he will publish, since he has very limited funds for his start-up business.
Although he has
been inundated with writers' submissions, his two main choices are both written
by people very close to him. One is a memoir written by his current lover, a
famous black singer who wants to celebrate her achievements despite her humble
beginnings as a sharecropper's daughter, and the other is a massive tome written
by his poor best friend from college, Denis McCleary, who is desperate to
demonstrate success to his wealthy girlfriend's family. As John anguishes over
his decision, he wishes for a crystal ball, but soon learns to be careful what
he wishes for.
mysterious machine is delivered to his office unordered, and within a few
minutes begins spewing out pages filled with information about the future. The
information first confuses and intrigues John and his assistant,
but as John learns more about
future events, the knowledge gives heavy weight to his current life decisions.
Unhappy with what destiny dishes out to his friends, John scrambles to recreate
As the action unfolds,
Greenberg's charming story about ambition, loyalty and fate teaches John to pay
attention to the present, enjoy one's life journey, and let go of trying to
control too much today, as Time is the ultimate arbiter.
Richard Greenberg (best known
for his Tony-winning TAKE ME OUT) took inspiration
from the literary and entertainment world for several of his characters in
THE VIOLET HOUR.
Rodney Brazil stars as John
Pace Seavering, a character who is modeled somewhat on famed publisher Maxwell
Perkins. Tracey Jordan Esaw portrays Jessie Brewster, a character with elements
of Josephine Baker and Billie Holliday. Addison Miller is a promising writer
reminiscent of a young F. Scott Fitzgerald, while Michelle Ray is his beautiful,
but eccentric, girlfriend who suggests the erratic Zelda Fitzgerald. Brett Young
brings to life Gidger, the publisher's high-strung, flamboyant assistant whose
hilarious dialogue incorporates a century of American slang.