Press Release: East Coast premier of THE MANOR at elegant Greystone Hall
A Unique Theatrical Experience: Greystone Hall and the Colonial Playhouse of Delaware County present the East Coast premier of “THE MANOR,” a two-act play by Kathrine Bates, at Greystone Hall, 1035 Phoenixville Pike, West Chester PA 19380 with evening performances at7 p.m. on Thursdays, November 2nd and 9th, on Fridays November 3rd and 10th and matinee performances at 2 p.m. on Saturday, November 4th, and Sundays, November 5th and 12th. Both evening and matinee performances are $60 per person, including light refreshments at the intermission. Seating is limited. Purchase tickets online at colonialplayhouse.net/the-manor/.
Money, marriage, murder and madness played out in a mansion: All are part and parcel of “The Manor,” a family saga based on real events. Instead of a proscenium stage or a stationary theater-in-the-round set-up, the audience follows members of the cast in designated groupings in and out of the mansion’s stately rooms where multiple scenes of the play are performed in coordinated rotations. The idea for the play was conceived in tandem with the idea of its being performed at the Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills on the very site where the real life drama occurred. Los Angeles audiences have been enjoying this in situ play over the past fifteen years, often returning back to see it again with guests.
Inspired by real life events: The play is a fictionalized account of the “triumphs and tribulations” of the fabulously wealthy Edward Doheny family renamed in the story as the “MacAlisters.” Doheny (1856-1935) drilled the first successful oil well in Los Angeles, starting the oil boom of the early 1900s in Southern California. In 1928, Oil tycoon and philanthropist Doheny was accused of bribing Albert Fall, the U.S. Secretary of the Interior in exchange for obtaining a lease 32,000 acres of federal land in California. His “gift” to Fall became a part of the infamous Teapot Dome scandal that plagued President Warren Harding administration; his son Ned and a trusted employee who together delivered the money in cash were also indicted. Although Secretary Fall was convicted of accepting a bribe, Doheny was ultimately acquitted. In its wake, however, a terrible tragedy took place in grandiose mansion he built and gifted to Ned. In the end the family patriarch died an invalid and recluse.
The mansion – a symbol of wealth, power and political intrigue – is the star of the show. The plot and grand setting the likes of “Downton Abby” and as timely as today’s news and politics – add up to a perfect recipe for a theatrical feast. Nestled on a hillside above Sunset Boulevard, the Los Angeles Tudor Revival style Greystone Mansion was designed by architect Gordon Kaufmann and completed in 1928. With the blessing of playwright Kathrine Bates, “The Manor” is being transplanted and presented in another grandiose mansion – the English Renaissance style Greystone Hall designed by Philadelphia architect Charles Barton Keen and built in 1907 for P.M. Sharples, West Chester inventor, industrialist and philanthropist. In 2015 Greystone Hall was the location site and “stand in” for its Los Angeles namesake for the filming of a TV docudrama for the Investigation Discovery Channel. The mansion setting in both locations is centerpiece of the story.
The Colonial Playhouse whose home stage is located at Arden, PA, in Delaware County, is a community theater established in 1940. It has a long tradition of offering a variety of fine theatrical programs. This year’s shows include Arthur Miller’s “All My Sons,” Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” Mark Twain’s “Adventures of Tom Sawyer,” Garson Kanin’s “Born Yesterday” and Tom Firth’s “Calendar Girls.” Sam Barrett, Dramatic Director of Colonial Playhouse, has immersed herself in directing this transplanted production of “The Manor” – an extraordinary and logistically challenging play- with exceptional dedication and passion
Although Greystone Hall is celebrating its 25th anniversary as Chester County’s most elegant conference and reception venue and is rented for private events, it is not generally open to the public. It remains a private family residence of the Jerrehian family, its owners for the past 75 years. A goal of both the Colonial Playhouse and Greystone Hall is that future performances of the play will become a local theatrical tradition as the play has become in LA.