Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA

Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA
Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

"Up in the Cheap Seats," Dress Rehearsal, Priscilla Beach Theatre, Priscilla Beach, Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA

Never before in my lifetime when I met an author, did I personally see and hear him/her bring those written words to life on the stage. Until now.  Ron Fassler  has done just that with his production of "Up in the Cheap Seats," on Priscilla Beach Theatre's (PBT) Barn Stage. This was a one-night only production that Ron has previously performed in both New York City and Los Angeles.  Now, add Priscilla Beach Theatre to those distinguished locations.

Ron is a remarkably skilled and masterful storyteller, speaker, singer, actor, author, and director who created a transporting audience experience. Although he was fully in command of the stage, Ron was accompanied in his first-person narrative account from his book by the musical stylings of members of PBT's Resident Summer Stock Company.  Together with the outstanding keyboard work of Asher Denburg, they all together brought anecdotes and stories from Ron's book to life.

I found the greatest inspiration in reading the book and seeing the show was the recognition that, while this is Ron's personal memoir, it may be more accurately regarded as a beautiful allegorical tale of a young boy's quest to find and pursue his passion.  A passion that grew into a lifetime of rich theatrical experiences. It serves as inspiration for anyone to find his/her life passion and then follow it with total commitment.

Producers, Owners, and Guardians: Bob and Sandy Malone
Director: Ron Fassler
Production Manager: Joshua Patino
Accompanist/keyboard: Asher Denburg

Ron's book is pictured above and the liner notes read, "In this touching and often hilarious theatrical memoir, Ron Fassler tells the stories of how over a four-year span, between the ages of 12-16, he saw 200 Broadway plays and musicals for as little as $1.50 a ticket—and all from UP IN THE CHEAP SEATS.

Such landmarks as Company, 1776, The Great White Hope, Hair, Follies and Pippin are but a small sampling of the original productions Fassler saw, funded entirely from the money earned as a Long Island paper boy. His eyewitness account to some of the greatest shows and stars of the 1960s and 70s (with visits backstage to a number of them), is furthered by conversing over the past four years with 100 men and women who were part of this remarkable time. Threading his own stories with theirs, the book features memories and insights from the likes of Harold Prince, Stephen Sondheim, Bette Midler, Sheldon Harnick, James Earl Jones, Austin Pendleton, Ken Howard, Hal Linden, Stacy Keach, Jane Alexander and Mike Nichols among many others."

Ron's book is available at the PBT box office, concession stand, through his website:, or online from your favorite bookseller.

The PBT Barn Stage, a 240-seat venue, is in its 81st season and is cited as the oldest summer stock barn theatre still operating in America. The original barn was built in 1875 and much of that structure remains in place today.

In addition to performing "Up in the Cheap Seats," Ron was previously chosen by PBT Owners and Guardians, Bob and Sandy Malone, to direct the re-opening production on PBT's renovated Barn Stage in the Summer of 2015 with "Fiddler on the Roof." Ron came back in the summers of 2016, 2017, and 2018 to direct "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum," "The Producers," and "Guys and Dolls."

Plan to come to PBT in the summer of 2019 - Ron will be back once again to bring his directorial magic to PBT's Barn Stage. Season tickets go on sale in December! 

2018 Season

"The Last Five Years" in May,
"The Drowsy Chaperone" in June,
"Guys and Dolls" in July,
"Bye, Bye, Birdie" in August,
"Damn Yankees" in September,
"Dames at Sea" in October.

2019 Season

"Life Could Be A Dream" in May,
"Heathers the Musical" in June,
"Hairspray" in July,
"Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" in August,
"[Title of Show]" in September,
"Young Frankenstein" in October.

(Yes, "[Title of Show]" is the actual title.)

The following images were captured live during the dress rehearsal and are in order of occurrence. Only the final image of the entire cast was posed. (Click on an image for a higher resolution version if your device supports that action).

The magic of PBT was on display once again at this production. My wife and I attended the show the night after this dress rehearsal. As I said earlier, Ron and the members of the PBT Resident Company brought this story to life as they wove narrative and music into an illustration of the history of a special time in Broadway's past. Too bad there was only one showing (which sold out).

I am really getting spoiled with the extraordinary quality of people and stories that Owners and Guardians Bob and Sandy Malone are able to weave together to create these shows year after year - what a gift to us all.

You can contact Priscilla Beach Theatre by phone at 508-224-4888 or online at this link for tickets! You'll be glad you did. It is extraordinary that we have such a wonderful and magical venue right here in Manomet - your support and attendance are important.

Previous blog posts about other PBT shows and the renovation of PBT in 2014 can be found at this link.

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