(CAPE MAY, NJ) -- The award-winning Equity professional East Lynne Theater Company presents one of its most popular events, "Poe by Candlelight," outside, just in time for Halloween. The date is the same as previously scheduled, Saturday, October 24, but the time is now 5:30pm, and the location is West Cape May's Back Yard, 732 Broadway, behind the Fire Hall. This is the same place in which the Farmer's Market is located and the recent site for the Lima Bean Festival. There is plenty of parking.
Like usual, ELTC actors read their favorite stories by the master of the macabre, Edgar Allan Poe. The performers, Suzanne Dawson, James Rana, Lee O'Connor, and Gayle Stahlhuth will be on a small stage, using microphones. So far, this year's stories include "The Pit and the Pendulum," "The Black Cat," and "The Cask of Amontillado."
ELTC requests that guests wear masks and sit in the pre-arranged socially distanced seats. The one-hour presentation will have no intermission, and restrooms will not be available. Tickets must be purchased in advance online or calling 609-884-5898, and will not be sold the night of performance. Cost is $12 and ages 12 and under are free. $2 from every ticket sold will go to support the 2021 West Cape May Christmas Parade.
All four Equity professional actors have performed in several productions for ELTC throughout the years, and most recently this summer 's "Tales of the Victorians."
Last season, Suzanne Dawson played Abby Brewster in ELTC's hit, "Arsenic and Old Lace," with Gayle Stahlhuth portraying her sister, Martha. Her Off-Broadway productions include "CBS Live" and "The Great American Backstage Musical." National Tours include "Rumors" and "Last of the Red Hot Lovers." Regional work, aside from ELTC, includes Florida Studio Theatre and Paper Mill Playhouse.
James Rana has performed with theaters throughout the country, and in film and television. In 2017, he was in Off-Broadway's "The Government Inspector" starring Michael Urie. In the fall of 2017, he began rehearsals for Broadway's "The Band’s Visit," and performed several times in the role of the Band's Leader, originally performed by Tony Shalhoub, and other roles. When this Tony Award winning show closed on Broadway in April 2018, he began performing in The National Tour. In mid-March, when the tour went on hiatus, like other shows throughout the country, Rana came to Cape May to visit ELTC's artistic director Gayle Stahlhuth and her husband, technical director, Lee O'Connor. Currently, he can be seen in ELTC's virtual production of "Nothing Matters," portraying Ambrose Bierce.
Lee O'Connor has portrayed Holmes in almost all of ELTC's Sherlock Holmes’ radio-style adventures. Other performing work includes "The Odd Couple" in Saigon while serving in Vietnam, and traveling throughout the country with Stahlhuth, in a two-hander written by her, "Not Above a Whisper." Aside from being ELTC's technical director since 1999, he has worked at a variety of regional theaters, and his work in NYC includes Radio City Music Hall, Irish Rep, Primary Stages, and special events for Dancers Over 40.
Gayle Stahlhuth has performed Off-Broadway, in regional theaters, and in film and television. Since 1999 she has been artistic director of ELTC, producing over 100 different plays and musicals for this company, and directed most of them. Her work has been praised in "The New York Times," "The Wall Street Journal," and "The Philadelphia Inquirer."
Aside from "Poe by Candlelight," "Tales of the Victorians" continues every Thursday at 4:00pm – live, in a backyard in Cape May. On October 29, Suzanne Dawson will be reading from the works of Dorothy Parker.
Through November 21, "Nothing Matters," written by Dave Geible, starring Rana with Stahlhuth is available through YouTube. It is a fully-staged Actors' Equity production that was filmed and edited. It took Stahlhuth three months to negotiate a contract with AEA so that "Nothing Matters" could be produced, without an audience, during a pandemic. Tickets are $15 and may be purchased online.