Last summer, Bay Street Theater and Sag Harbor Center for the Arts was in a state of transition, with new artistic director Scott Schwartz spearheading a daring Mainstage season with two world premieres and many new initiatives. And judging by the lineup for this summer, the storied theater shows no signs of slowing down.
The Mainstage season opens with the world premiere of The New Sincerity, a comedy written by Alena Smith, on May 26. This political comedy satirizes the Occupy movement and focuses on a young journalist who is in the middle of a love triangle while in the midst of a rowdy protest movement. Bridgehampton’s Bob Balaban will direct the play. Says Smith of the play: “I finished the first draft in 2012. It’s grown, gotten better…in the first draft, it was missing an entire character who’s turned out to be one of the favorites during readings. At this point, it’s had like 15 readings, but it’s still going to be really thrilling [at Bay Street].” Smith also writes for the Showtime drama The Affair, which is set and filmed in Montauk. The New Sincerity runs through June 14.
The East Coast premiere of Rick Cleveland’s Five Presidents runs from June 23–July 12. Cleveland, who’s written for The West Wing, House of Cards and Six Feet Under, tells the story of five ex-presidents who gather together on the day of Richard Nixon’s funeral. This drama explores their frustrations, issues and toll that the presidency takes on their lives.
Another East Coast premiere, The Darrell Hammond Project, runs from July 16–26. Hammond, a long-running performer on Saturday Night Live made famous for his impersonations of Bill Clinton and Sean Connery, wrote and performs the piece. This powerful piece tells Hammond’s story, the abuse he endured as a child and the mental illness that has followed him throughout his adult life.
The Mainstage season concludes with Bay Street’s production of the Tony-winning Grey Gardens: The Musical, written by Doug Wright with music by Scott Frankel and lyrics by Michael Korie. Based on the iconic 1975 documentary by the Maysles brothers (Albert passed away this year), this funny, heartbreaking, thoughtful musical tells the story of Big Edie and Little Edie Bouvier Beale, eccentric relatives of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. The musical follows their lives as they go from leading glamorous, rich lives to being reclusive and held up in an old, crumbling East Hampton house. This touching show runs through August 30.
Bay Street’s popular Comedy Club series returns this year, with a diverse stable of familiar comedians taking the stage. This year’s lineup: Paula Poundstone returns to the Bay Street stage on May 23; Jim Breuer, named one of Comedy Central’s 100 Greatest Stand-Ups of All Time, performs on July 6; and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart correspondent Al Madrigal laughs up Sag Harbor on July 13. More comedians are to be announced. And the annual fundraiser is July 11.
The Bay Street Theater and Sag Harbor Center for the Arts is located at 1 Bay Street, Sag Harbor. For more information, including ticket and subscription information, call 631-725-9500 or go to baystreet.org.