WEST CHESTER, PA — One of the region’s most famous mansions will again host a famous Greystone Hall and the Colonial Playhouse of Delaware County present the 2023 production of The Manor, a two-act play by Kathrine Bates, directed by Sam Barrett. Inspired by a true story from the 1920’s, the play was designed to be performed in the Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills where those events took place. The play was later adapted by the playwright for Greystone Hall right here in Chester County, where the mansion itself is again the stage and the star! The story itself centers around money, marriage, politics and power. The audience follows the unfolding story as it moves through the grand stately rooms and intimate spaces of the famous 115-year-old mansion. The play returns by popular demand for its fifth time at Greystone Hall.
Opening night will be Thursday, March 2nd at 7:00pm. The play will run through March 12th, with evening and matinee showtimes available across performance days. Tickets are on sale now for $65 each, which includes the show and experience, plus complimentary sweet and savory refreshments at intermission. Tickets are available at www.greystonehall.com. All performances will be held at Greystone Hall, located at 2450 Aram Ave, West Chester, PA 19380.
One of the region’s most unique theatre experiences returns for its fifth year!
The Manor by Kathrine Bates will bring to life the famous rooms and stylings of Greystone Hall. The two-act play originally was first performed in 2002 at Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills. Greystone Hall’s Managing Partner and Greystone resident Velda Moog travelled to Los Angeles to see the show and meet with the playwright. The playwright later adapted the script for its East Coast Debut at Greystone Hall in 2017. The Manor at Greystone Hall continued to play to sold out audiences until the pandemic pressed pause in 2020. The show returned in 2021 in a limited capacity and now it is fully back. Greystone is set to take center stage again as the twelve actors bring audiences room-by-room as the drama unfolds. As in California each season, local attendees from prIor years have returned with family and guests to see the show again and share their experience with the next generation.
The Manor’s script was inspired by tragic events that took place at the magnificent mansion that early 20th century oil magnate, Edward Doheny, built for his son. The real events and family saga were fictionalized by playwright and actress Kathrine Bates and specifically written by her to be performed by the “Theater 40” professional stage company at the Greystone Mansion, now owned by the city of Beverly Hills, California where the events took place. It has played there annually since 2002. Residents and visitors have come back and seen the show once, twice and some even more.
Set in the 1920’s, the play is a fictionalized account of the “triumphs and tribulations” of the fabulously wealthy Edward Doheny family, renamed in Bates’ play as the “MacAlisters.” Doheny (1856-1935) drilled the first successful oil well in Los Angeles, starting the oil boom of the early 1900s in Southern California. In the late 1920s, oil tycoon and philanthropist Doheny was accused of bribing the U.S. Secretary of the Interior in exchange for obtaining a lease 32,000 acres of federal land in California. This was part of the infamous Teapot Dome scandal during the Harding Administration. Although the Secretary of the Interior was convicted of accepting a bribe, Doheny was ultimately acquitted. In its wake, however, a terrible tragedy took place in the grandiose Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills he had gifted to his son Ned.
To lend authenticity to the tale, the show will be presented in the grand and glorious Greystone Hall. Audience members are led from room to room in the beautiful mansion as different scenes of the narrative are portrayed, leading up to a shocking conclusion.
The mansion – a symbol of wealth, power and political intrigue – is the star of the show. The plot, a grand setting the likes of “Downton Abbey,” and its similarity to today’s news and politics – add up to a perfect recipe for a theatrical feast.
The LA Times called the show, “A saga of the rich and mighty in the tradition of Dynasty with shades of Bronte’s Wuthering Heights.”
DC Metro said, “”In our era when rich deal-makers are in power, this drama is chillingly relevant,” and “The mansion and its stylings are an important part of the drama, because they reveal the aura of privilege that led the characters to act above the law, with a sense of entitlement.”
THE MANSION IS THE STAR
For over a hundred and fifteen years, Greystone Hall has stood in the heart of Chester County, Pennsylvania. Commissioned by inventor and businessman, P.M. Sharples and designed by architect Charles Barton Keen, Greystone Hall was completed in 1907 in an English Renaissance style. Foxcroft granite stone exterior, landscaped formal gardens, ornate detailed woodwork, and exquisite antiques transport visitors and guests to another time and place. In 1942, the mansion was purchased by the Jerrehian Partnership, a renowned Philadelphia-based oriental rug firm.
Since 1960, the Jerrehian family has hosted family wedding ceremonies and receptions. Velda Jerrehian Moog was the first in the family to have her reception at Greystone in 1960. In 1992, the partnership decided to rent Greystone Hall as a Conference & Reception Venue to help cover some of the ongoing and increasing costs of maintaining and preserving it. Greystone Hall would become one of the most sought after destination wedding venues in the entire region. Moog has been the managing partner for Greystone and resides in the private quarters of the mansion. Her daughter Elizabeth Moog, who has managed all wedding events for the past decade, now lives in an apartment within the mansion,
The Manor is a passion project for Moog, who personally sees to all of the arrangements to make the annual production a huge success – from personally selecting the intermission canapes to working closely with Colonial Playhouse on every detail is in place for actors and theatre goers. A goal of both the Colonial Playhouse and Greystone Hall is that future performance of the play will become a local theatrical tradition as has happened in LA.
Greystone Hall is proud to be Chester County’s most elegant conference and reception venue. While it is rented for private events, it is not generally open to the public. It has remained a private family residence of the Jerrehian family, its owners, for over 80 years.
From California to Pennsylvania, The Manor was written for Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills and later adapted to Greystone Hall in West Chester. When asked about the connection and the show’s journey, Moog said, “I first heard about the play when Greystone Hall was selected as the location site for a 2015 docudrama on the Investigation Discovery Channel. The Beverly Hill Greystone inspired Bates to write a play specifically designed to be performed in the mansion where the real life events in the 1920s and 30s took place. For some reason the filming could not take place in California and all the video scenes of the mansion were shot at our Greystone interspersed with photos of the Beverly Hill mansion. I knew the Beverly HIll house from working and living in LA in the early 1980s. Soon after the location shoot, I contacted the playwright. My husband and I went to LA to see the play as Bates’ guests.”
She continued, “I met with Kathrine Bates and we sat in a coffee shop for hours one afternoon laying out the flow of the plot onto our Greystone Hall’s floor plan. It took me about a year to find a community theater group ready to take on the special logistics of a play where cast and audience move in and out of rooms in a mansion. Katherine Bates planned a trip east to visit Greystone to inaugurate her play. My niece Amy Jerrehian knew someone who was involved with the Community Playhouse and we invited their director to meet us and the playwright. Everything came together all at once that day and within a few weeks there were auditions and then rehearsals for the east coast premier in November 2017.”
“We are thrilled to have an ongoing and special connection to Kathrine, now seven years late, after first meeting her and first seeing ‘The Manor’ in Beverly Hills,” concluded Moog.
The Colonial Playhouse of Delaware County, whose home stage is located at Aldan, PA, is a community theater established in 1940. It has a long tradition of offering a variety of fine theatrical programs. Sam Barrett, President of Colonial Playhouse, has immersed herself once again in directing this encore production of The Manor– an extraordinary and logistically challenging play- with exceptional dedication and passion.
For her cast, Barrett has selected many notable names from past productions, mixed in with some new latent for the fifth season of The Manor. The cast for this year includes:
Charles: Jim Copeland
Marion: Jen Wolfe
Sean: Den Mahoney
Frank: John Devine
Abby: Chelsea Flynn
Senator: Dave Cashell
Cora: Barb Scanlon
Greg: Tommy Karolyi
Henrietta: ES McKinlay
Butler: Jim Hulme
Ellie: Joanne Naughton
Ursula: Kate Sapsis
Director: Sam Barrett
Stage Manager: Ann Quinn
Sound: Ron Hill
March 2,3,4,9,10,11 at 7 pm
March 5 and 12 at 2 pm
For more information, visit www.greystonehall.com
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