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Flyin’ West, Westport Country Playhouse, Westport, CT, USA

Westport Country Playhouse - Flyin' West - photo by C. Rosegg
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Westport Playhouse -  Flyin. West - Welch, Bradford, Mathis by Crosegg Flyin’ West by Pearl Cleage is a masterful triumph of a play at the Westport Country Playhouse in Westport, Connecticut. Artfully directed by Seret Scott, the exceptionally talented cast of Brittany Bradford, Michael Chenevert, Nikiya Mathis, Edward O’Blenis, Brenda Pressley, and Keona Welch provide memorable portrayals of the multi-layered characters to complement playwright Pearl Cleage’s inspired storytelling. Bravo! The play runs until June 16,2018.


Keona Welch (Minnie), Michael Chenevert (Frank),
Brenda Pressley (Miss Leah)
Brittany Bradford (Fannie), Nikiya Mathis (Sophie)
Flyin’ West

The Westport Country Playhouse opened their impressive season with playwright Pearl Cleage’s inspired play, Flyin’ West. We attended opening night on Saturday, June 2, 2018, and were held spellbound. If ever a play was picture perfect, it would be Pearl Cleage’s Flyin’ West; from the gorgeous log cabin set designed by Marjorie Bradley Kellogg that transported the audience to Nicodemus, Kansas, to the evocative, historic story, to the well-cast actors who gave rich performances bringing life to their multi-dimensional characters under the talented director Seret Scott’s guidance.


Brittany Bradford, Edward O'Blenis - Westport Country Playhouse - Flyin' West - photo by C. Rosegg
Brittany Bradford (Fannie), Edward O’Blenis (Will)
Flyin’ West

The play takes place in the Fall of 1898, outside the all black town of Nicodemus, Kansas. The play description reads, "The Civil War is still a living memory, and the all-black town of Nicodemus, Kansas offers a refuge for many formerly enslaved people. At one homestead lives a family of courageous and sharp-witted women determined to make a place for themselves. They overcome tremendous oddsin a heroic effort to escape the scars of the past in this uplifting story of bravery, pride, and sisterhood."


Brenda Pressley - Westport Country Playhouse - Flyin' West - photo by C. Rosegg
Brenda Pressley (Miss Leah)
Flyin’ West

Flyin’ West is a poignant tale of survival, of love – romantic and familial, and the hardships, hope, and friendships of a group of people brought together by fate and circumstance, who created an extended family that is determined to succeed in their new home in Nicodemus, Kansas.


Westport Country Playhouse - Flyin' West - photo by C. Rosegg

Brittany Bradford (Fannie), Michael Chenevert (Frank),
Keona Welch (Minnie), Edward O’Blenis (Will),
Brenda Pressley (Miss Leah), Nikiya Mathis (Sophie)
Flyin’ West

Brenda Pressley as Miss Leah, the honorary matriarch of the family, is superb in her role as the often times cantankerous but loving head of the household doling out barbs, witty repartee, care, and love. Brittany Bradford is wonderful in her role as the sweet Fannie Dove. Edward O’Blenis delivers a memorable performance in his role as Will Parish, Fannie’s suitor and self-appointed protector of the family. Keona Welch gives a touching performance in her role of Minnie Dove Charles, Fannie Dove’s younger sister, who is married to Frank Charles (Michael Chenevert). The Charles’ have been living in Europe and have returned to the United States to hopefully collect Frank’s inheritance from his deceased father. Michael Chenevert delivers a masterful performance as the angry Frank Charles, whose backstory once known, provides insight, if not acceptance, into his behavior. Nikiya Mathis as Sophie Washington rounds out the cast and breaks your heart with her own backstory when she is not delivering barbs at Miss Leah and the rest of the extended family. Under her steely exterior lies a heart cloaked in velvet. Pearl Cleage’s evocative script gives each character their own multi-layered deep backstory that explains who they are, how they got there, and what they want from the future all tied up neatly like a beautiful package with a bright red ribbon.


Keona Welch, Brittany Bradford, Nikiya Mathis - Westport Country Playhouse - Flyin' West - photo by C. Rosegg

Keona Welch (Minnie), Brittany Bradford (Fannie),
Nikiya Mathis (Sophie)
Flyin’ West

With Pearl Cleage’s play Flyin’ West receiving a standing ovation on opening night, the Westport Country Playhouse’s new season looks like it is off to a flying start. Bravo!

Watch the official trailer: Flyin’ West Trailer


Keona Welch, Brenda Pressley - Westport Country Playhouse - Flyin' West - photo by C. Rosegg

Keona Welch (Minnie), Brenda Pressley (Miss Leah)
Flyin’ West


Flyin’ West Cast:

Brittany Bradford

Fannie Dove

Michael Chenevert

Frank Charles

Nikiya Mathis

Sophie Washington

Edward O’Blenis

Will Parish

Brenda Pressley

Miss Leah

Keona Welch

Minnie Dove Charles

The Creative Team:

Seret Scott


Marjorie Bradley Kellogg

Scenic Designer

Heidi Leigh Hanson

Costume Design

Stephen Strawbridge

Lighting Design

Frederick Kennedy

Sound Designer

Michael Rossmy

Fight Director

Alison Mantilla

Props Master

J. Jared Janas

Wig, Hair & Makeup Designer

Tara Rubin Casting


Alice M. Pollitt

Production Stage Manager

Shane Schnetzler

Assistant Stage Manager

Mark Lamos

Artistic Director

Michael Barker

Managing Director


Keona Welch, Michael Chenevert - Westport Country Playhouse - Flyin' West - photo by C. Rosegg

Keona Welch (Minnie), Michael Chenevert (Frank)
Flyin’ West


Flyin’ West performance schedule is Tuesday at 7:00 pm., Wednesday at 2:00 pm and 8:00 pm, Thursday and Friday at 8:00 pm., Saturday at 3:00 pm and 8:00 pm. and Sunday at 3:00pm. Special series feature Taste of Tuesday, LGBT Night OUT, Opening Night, Sunday Symposium, Open Captions,Thursday Talk Back, Together at the Table Family Dinner, Playhouse Happy Hour, and Backstage Pass.

For information on the play or to purchase tickets, please call the box office at 203-227-4177 or call the toll-free number at 888-927-7529, or visit them on the website at www.WestportPlayhouse.org.

The Westport Country Playhouse Box Office is open during Performance Days Tuesday through Friday from 12:00 pm until 8:30 pm, Saturday from 11:00 am until 8:30pm, Sunday from 11:00 am until 3:30 pm, and is closed on Monday. Non-Performance Days, the Box Office is open Tuesday through Friday from 12:00pm until 6:00 pm, and is closed on Monday.

The Westport Country Playhouse named as "Theatre Company of the Year" in December 2013 by The Wall Street Journal, opened in the 1930s in a transformed 1835 cowbarn, which has, and continues to attract, a "who’s who" of prominent actors. Looking at the framed posters of past shows that line the lobby walls was like entering an encyclopedia of the arts. A few of the many renowned actors who have appeared on the stage there include Ethyl Barrymore, Dorothy and Lillian Gish, Tallulah Bankhead, Gloria Swanson, Don Ameche, Hume Cronin and Jessica Tandy, Jane Fonda, Danny Aiello, Blythe Danner, Jill Clayburgh, Richard Dreyfus, Whoopi Goldberg, Liza Minnelli, Bernadette Peters, Lynn Redgrave, Gene Wilder, and Westport residents Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman.

"Westport Country Playhouse, a not-for-profit theater, serves as a cultural nexus for patrons, artists and students and is a treasured resource for the State of Connecticut. There are no boundaries to the creative thinking for future seasons or the kinds of audiences and excitement for theater that Westport Country Playhouse can build."

For information on upcoming events and other performances, please visit the website: www.WestportPlayhouse.org.


Upcoming Performances- 2018

Plays 2018 Season

Dates Running

Flyin’ West

May 29 – June 16, 2018

A Flea In Her Ear

July 10 – 28, 2018

The Understudy

August 14 – September 1, 2018

Man Of La Mancha

September 25 – October 13, 2018

Thousand Pines

October 30 – November 17, 2018

Westport Country Playhouse, Westport, CT, USA


Westport Country Playhouse

25 Powers Court

Westport, Connecticut 06880
United States

Box Office: +1-203-227-4177

Toll-Free: +1-888-927-7529

Fax: +1-203-454-3239

Box Office: +1-203-227-4177

Website: www.WestportPlayhouse.org

Facebook: www.Facebook/WestportCountryPlayhouse

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