-Courtesy of Perpetual Motion PR
Mistaken identities and foolhardy love affairs abound in The Vinegar Tree, Paul Osborn’s rarely produced 1930 comedy of manners, directed by Abigail Adams and onstage at People’s Light June 29 through July 24. At the center of this delightfully sophisticated confection is Laura Merrick, a restless woman whose marriage to the sour Augustus has brought both security and disappointment. Over the course of one day, the Merricks’ country home is overrun by their daughter Leone and her college sweetheart, Laura’s glamorous sister Winifred, and Winifred’s charming lover. As romances tangle and secrets unfurl, everyone comes to terms with what they truly want. Single tickets to The Vinegar Tree start at $45, including fees. To purchase, call 610.644.3500 or visit peopleslight.org. People’s Light is located at 39 Conestoga Road in Malvern, PA.
Paul Osborn (1901-1988) was a successful American playwright and screenwriter, known primarily for film adaptations such as East of Eden and South Pacific, yet Osborn is rarely produced today. The Vinegar Tree reunites many of the creative team from another Osborn comedy directed by Adams—People’s Light’s 2018 production of Morning’s at Seven, which received four Barrymore Awards and was hailed by the Wall Street Journal’s Terry Teachout as “one of the finest productions of an American play that I’ve ever reviewed.”
“It’s been a pleasure to reintroduce Osborn’s work to audiences,” says People’s Light Producing Artistic Director Zak Berkman. “While The Vinegar Tree opened 92 years ago, it remains as relatable as ever. If you have ever wondered—Am I living the life I was meant to live? Am I with the person I’m supposed to be with?—you may feel Osborn wrote this funny, ironic, and joyful love letter to you.”
“When I first read the script, I laughed out loud,” shares director Abigail Adams. “It’s been an interesting challenge to capture the sophistication and pathos of Osborn’s comedy onstage, as it calls for a tremendous capacity for vulnerability, which requires a great deal of trust among the cast and creative team. Perhaps that’s why The Vinegar Tree is so rarely produced.
“I’m lucky to have worked with the majority of these artists for years, so the foundation of trust is already there and we can delve all the more deeply into the heart of the play.”
The cast of The Vinegar Tree features People’s Light company members David Ingram (Moon Over Buffalo, Bach at Leipzig) as Augustus; Claire Inie-Richards (Our Town, Project Dawn) as Leone; Teri Lamm (Our Town, Morning’s at Seven) as Laura; Aubie Merrylees (Stargirl, Beautiful Boy) as Geoffrey; Stephen Novelli (Shakespeare in Love, Morning’s at Seven) as Louis; and Julianna Zinkel (The Harassment of Iris Mally, Pride and Prejudice) as Winifred. They are joined by returning artist Christopher Kelly (Noises Off) as Max.
More returning company members include Costume Designer Marla J. Jurglanis (A Christmas Carol, Morning’s at Seven), Lighting Designer Dennis Parichy (The Children, Morning’s at Seven), and Stage Manager Audrey M. Brown (For Peter Pan on Her 70th Birthday, Our Town). Returning designers include Scenic Designer Daniel Zimmerman (The Children, The Harassment of Iris Malloy) and Sound Designer Lee Kinney (The Children, Such Things As Vampires). Dramaturg Geoff Proehl (Richard III, Romeo and Juliet) also returns, assisted by Lorell Perillat. Saladin White II serves as COVID Compliance Manager with company member Kate McSorley Fossner assisting.
The Vinegar Tree previews Wednesday, June 29; Thursday, June 30; and Saturday, July 2 at 8pm. The play opens with an invite-only performance on Sunday, July 3 at 2pm and runs through Sunday, July 24. Standard tickets start at $45, including fees. People’s Light also offers a range of ticket discounts, like a 50%-off Access Night on Tuesday, July 12 at 7:30pm, 25% off for educators and military, and discounted student and instrustry rush tickets. Learn more about available ticket discounts here. To purchase single tickets, visit peopleslight.org or call the Box Office at 610.644.3500.
Special rates are available for groups of 10 or more. For more information, or to purchase group tickets, call Kelly Benedict at 610.647.1900, x111, or email firstname.lastname@example.org .
The Vinegar Tree is recommended for ages 13+ for mature themes.
Actors, prices, productions, performance dates and times are subject to change. Additional service charges may apply.
Beginning with the July 12 performance of The Vinegar Tree, People’s Light offers Smart Caption Glasses, which provide customizable, in-line captioning of the play’s text within smart glasses. In partnership with the Institute on Disabilities at Temple University and the National Theatre of Great Britain, People’s Light is the first theatre in the United States to offer Smart Caption Glasses to theatre audiences.
The Vinegar Tree Open Caption (OC) performances run July 12-17 and feature an LED screen near the stage that displays text simultaneously with live speech and action, for individuals with hearing impairment and English language learners. No other elements of the performance change.
People’s Light offers a Relaxed Performance of The Vinegar Tree on Sunday, July 17 at 2pm. Relaxed Performances offer a judgment-free environment that invites individuals with autism, ADD, ADHD, dementia, and other sensory sensitivities to enjoy theatre in a relaxed, “shush-free” zone—a great option for parents with young children, too. Audio description is available at this performance upon request, provided by Nicole Sardella. Tickets to Relaxed Performances are $30, including fees. For more information, contact the Box Office at 610.644.3500.
Service animals are welcome at all performances at People’s Light. The Theatre offers a designated relief area and water bowl for their comfort.
People’s Light offers a range of Audio and Visual Aids freely available to patrons, including audio headsets, T-Coil “induction” loops, large sensory supports like fidgets, noise-canceling headphones, and more. These supports are available on a first come, first served basis, no reservations required. Please pick them up from the House Manager in the theatre lobbies. Learn more about Accessibility at People’s Light here.