NEWPORT – A dinner show production last week kept the audience on the edge of their seats laughing and waiting for the next bit of satire, while actors jumped out on the stage in outrageous costumes.
The play, "The Complete History of America (Abridged)," was directed locally by Michael Chase Gosselin. History buffs and those who find history dry and boring all found amusement in the production with its zany satire, unexpected lines, and costumes.
Last Thursday at the Eastside Restaurant, Gosselin, who also starred in the production along with co-actors Grady Kennison, and Trevor Howell, presented a preview of the show in front of a supportive audience before taking the show on tour.
This weekend, the show goes on the road to the St. Johnsbury School Auditorium and the Black Box Theatre on Main Street Landing in Burlington. The touring staff, along with Gosselin, includes associate director and stage manager Beth Koennicke, assistant stage manager Cassy O'Connor, and technical director Tristan Slicer.
“We knew we wanted a play that was fast-paced and hilarious, as well as something that had a small cast,” Gosselin said.
“The Reduced Shakespeare Company‘s "The Complete History of America (Abridged)" seemed hilarious to us, and we thought it would be fun to perform it in an election year.”
Gosselin has another upcoming performance this summer. It is the new Tony Award winning musical "Next to Normal." Gosselin describes the show as very different and powerful.
It deals with the story of a family that struggles with mental illness. “It is a huge honor that we are the first group to present it in Vermont,” Gosselin said.
Gosselin began his directing endeavor six years ago while he was in school at Untied Christian Academy. He transferred to North Country his junior year and continued with his theater group, Act Three.
Gosselin, a recent graduate of North Country, will head to New York late summer, where he has been accepted into the directing program at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts in New York City.
"Next to Normal" will run from August 3-5 at North Country. The cast includes Ruth-Ann Fletcher, Brian Kilday, Jessi Sackett, Joshua Clinger, Dan Hollander, and Trevor Howell. The final performance of the production will be a special farewell event, Gosselin said.