On February 9, 2022

Artistree’s Grange Theatre presents ‘I Do! I Do!’ starring award winning Christopher Sutton and Lyn Philistine

Feb. 10-19 — SOUTH POMFRET — Writer Mignon McLaughlin said, “A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.” Actors Christopher Sutton and Lyn Philistine know a thing or two about this. Not only do they portray the lead characters, Michael and Agnes, in the romantic musical “I Do! I Do!,” but also they are each other’s lead characters in real life. The married actors, who live in New York City, are no strangers to our area having starred opposite each other in Artistree’s 2018 production of “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change.” Their charm, positivity, and enthusiasm for storytelling both on stage and off is infectious. Artistree is thrilled to welcome Sutton and Philistine back to The Grange Theatre in its upcoming production of the Broadway smash hit “I Do! I Do!.”

Courtesy Artistree

The Tony-award winning musical is based on Jan de Hartog’s delightful bedroom comedy, “The Fourposter.” The two-character story was adapted to the stage by Broadway powerhouse songwriters Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt, creators of “The Fantasticks.” The play follows five decades of marriage starting with Michael and Agnes saying “I do” on their wedding day. At the center of both the stage and the couple’s love story is a fourposter bed, and it is here that an innocent and newly married Agnes admits she’s never seen a naked man. The fourposter bed is a symbol of their marriage and it bears witness along with the audience to the ensuing 50 years of their relationship; its ups and downs, joys and sorrows.

The roles of Agnes and Michael were made popular in 1966 when the show originally opened, starring Mary Martin and Robert Preston. Carol Burnett and Rock Hudson also did a memorable tour as the married couple. “I Do! I Do!” ran for two years on Broadway and won many awards. The show also had a big musical hit with the song “My Cup Runneth Over” in the late 60’s.

Director Gary John La Rosa says “I Do! I Do!” is “a tour de force for our two actors who sing, dance, act, and age fifty years in front of the audience”. La Rosa has personal history with “I Do! I Do!” as he credits it for having introduced him to theatre work in the 70’s when he was a props runner for a professional dinner theatre production of the show. La Rosa has gone on to act, direct, and stage hundreds of shows from Broadway to Brazil, but says he never re-encountered this musical. Until now. “What a delight it was when Josh D. Smith, Artistree’s Artistic Director, asked if I’d be interested in helming this production. Would I? You bet! I knew “I Do! I Do!” would fit perfectly in the cozy Grange Theatre. I couldn’t think of a sweeter Valentine’s Day gift for our audiences, especially our two exceptional performers, Lyn and Christopher. As I started to do my preproduction work the indelible memories, melodies and lyrics were all magically still there.”

“I Do! I Do!” is a period piece that begins at the turn of the century and takes the audience through multiple decades of Agnes and Michael’s traditional Victorian era marriage. We watch as they go through their wedding night jitters, raise a family, endure mid-life crises, and test the limits of their marriage. We see the characters evolve as individuals and as a couple as their relationship gets tested and their love for each other questioned. With Sutton and Philistine taking on the lead roles, Sutton remarks how special this opportunity is to “examine 50 years of marriage played by a married couple.“ He emphasizes that times have changed since 1898 and so has marriage, but this period piece “is emotionally wonderful and the music is gorgeous.” Not only is the production a humorous and warmhearted experience for the audience, but also, as both Sutton and Philistine agree, the theatre brings people together and “we need this now more than ever.”

Artistree is excited to bring “I Do! I Do!” to its main stage from Feb. 10-19 with evening and matinee performances as well as in person or virtual tickets. Special thanks to the Jack and Dorothy Byrne Foundation for their generous support of The Grange Theatre. Visit artistreevt.org or call 802-457-3500 for tickets and information.

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