By Kevin Zimmerman
After successful productions in Arizona, Massachusetts and Colorado, playwright Sandy Rustin’s Noël Coward-esque comedy “The Cottage” makes a triumphant return to the borough where it all started.
Queens Theatre is set to open a new version of the show, which premiered last fall at the Astoria Performing Arts Center, Friday evening on its main stage.
“I saw how great the production was at APAC,” said Taryn Sacramone, managing director at Queens Theatre. “And I was thinking how this would be a great match for our audience. They would love this show.”
Sacramone loved the piece since first reading it in the spring of 2013.
At that time, she was running APAC and had been given a copy by the theater’s artistic director. She headed out to a nearby restaurant and devoured the script.
“I flew through it,” said Sacramone. “I was by myself, but I was laughing out loud. It has such clever dialogue and the twists and turns keep you hooked. And now I get to bring it here.”
Although most of the original APAC cast is returning for the show, this production is not so much a revival of Rustin’s work as it is a version of the play’s latest incarnation.
This past summer Rustin secured a spot as playwright-in-residence at Theatre Aspen in Colorado, where she tinkered with the script.
“I was able to work on it with the actors,” said Rustin, from her Maplewood, N.J. home. “The pace is much tighter and the show has a new energy to it.”
Rustin, who studied at Northwestern University near her hometown of Chicago, has always considered herself a writer, even when she earned a living as an actress. But when she became pregnant 10 years ago with her first child, she knew acting would have to wait.
That’s when she rediscovered the author inside.
“I had to take a step back and that really reignited the writer,” she said.
So Rustin, who followed the maxim “write what you know,” found herself creating skits focused on raising children and being a parent. Eventually that turned into a musical, co-written with Dan Lipton and David Rossmer, titled “Rated P for Parenthood,” which ran off-Broadway in 2012 and was recently optioned by ABC-TV.
But “The Cottage,” as her first full-length play, remains her (theatrical) baby — which is just about to hit its development’s next milestone at Queens Theatre.
“It is fun to see the show in all its stages,” said Rustin. “I’m interested in moving the production to the next steps.”
If you go
When: Through Nov. 16, Where: Queens Theatre, Flushing Meadows Corona Park
Cost: $25 – $42
Contact: (718) 760-0064