September 19, 2014

Literary salon at Westport Playhouse June 18

Why we laugh will be the focus

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Michael Roemer

Yale Professor Emeritus Michael Roemer, author of Shocked but Connected: Notes on Laughter.

The second “Books Worth Talking About” literary salon at Westport Country Playhouse will take place June 18 at 6:30 p.m. with Yale Professor and filmmaker Michael Roemer, author of Shocked but Connected: Notes on Laughter. He will be accompanied by radio host and Broadway scenic designer Leo B. Meyer who will moderate the event. They will examine what makes people laugh and what is so funny about George Kelly’s unexpected comedy of bad manners, “The Show-Off,” written by George Kelly and directed by Nicholas Martin.

The nature of laughter and the work of the great comedians of our age along with what distinguishes comedy from other art forms is examined in “Shocked But Connected.” What evokes a belly laugh when we watch comedy onstage or in film and what is the purpose of comedy in our lives and in the society we live in?

Leo B. Meyer

Leo B. Meyer will moderate the Literary Salon.

As with past literary salons at the Playhouse, the June 18 event will feature a talk with an author whose work compliments what is being presented onstage at the theatre which, in this case is “The Show-Off,” the second offering in the theatre’s season of comedies.

“The Show-Off” is about a family who is at a loss as to what to do when their daughter brings home a finance who is a blow-hard, first-rate annoyance and shameless liar? A family learning to cope with this human oddity who combines reserved skepticism and swaggering confidence – the two sides of the American character – will be set in hilarious relief by Roemer and Meyer in the salon.

The literary salon series which is a collaboration between the playhouse and Meryl L. Moss Media Relations, Inc. of Westport is being sponsored this year by Catamount Wealth Management.

Michael Roemer is a distinguished filmmaker, writing and directing films such as Nothing But a Man; Pilgrim, Farewell; and the award-winning documentaries Dying and Cortile Cascino. From 1971 to the present, he has taught filmmaking and aesthetics at Yale University, where he is professor emeritus today.

Leo B. Meyer has designed and produced sets for hundreds of plays, ballets, musicals, Broadway, touring companies, and for film throughout the United States and Canada. For 40 years he owned and operated Atlas Scenic Studio, a major contracting production company designing sets for Broadway, Tony-Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning productions the world over. In his career, he has worked with such stars as Carol Channing, Esther Williams, Kitty Carlisle, Mae West, Howard Keel, Leslie Caron, Louis Jordan, and Gypsy Rose Lee. He currently co-hosts a radio gossip show, “Backstage Buzz,” for WPKN-FM Public Radio. He is a published playwright of the docudrama, “Barnum Tonight!”

The Literary Salon will be in the Lucille Lortel White Barn Center at Westport Country Playhouse and is open to anyone with a ticket for the Tuesday, June 18, 8 p.m. performance of “The Show-off.”  Subscribers to other performances may exchange their tickets into this evening by contacting the Playhouse box office at 203-227-4177. Reservations for the Books Worth Talking About literary salon are necessary.  RSVP at marketing@westportplayhouse.org  or the Playhouse box office at (203)-227-4177.