Erika Sanger –

DATE: July 8, 2024
TITLE: Opera House Arts Proudly Presents ROBERT FROST: THIS VERSE BUSINESS Starring Gordon Clapp as Robert Frost July 19th and 20th, 7:00pm

Performances: June 19th and 20th at 7:00PM
Tickets: $29, $39 and $49
Purchase tickets here

Emmy-winner (NYPD Blue) and Tony-nominee, Gordon Clapp will bring his acclaimed portrayal of poet Robert Frost to the Stonington Opera House in the one-man show “Robert Frost: This Verse Business” playwright A.M.Dolan. It’s an entertaining portrait of the great poet and platform legend whose public “talks” were hot tickets for nearly half a century and an illuminating glimpse of the old bard at home, aware of his fame and failures, with poems still to write and “promises to keep.” With original direction by Gus Kaikkonen, performances will be July 19th and 20th at 7:00pm. This special production at the Stonington Opera House will be the first time it is performed in Maine and is made possible by Ray and Judy McCaskey.

Robert Frost was arguably the nation’s first superstar poet, and made sold-out appearances for nearly 50 years to mixed crowds of readers and non-readers alike. In Clapp’s acclaimed portrait, the flinty old poet shares his verse from memory, along with witty “wild surmises” on art, religion, science, “radicals,” and “conservatives.” Culled from actual recordings and Frost’s writings, the production reveals in measured glances both the public and private faces of an American icon, and a beguiling rascal on the platform, whose poems about rural New England became a canvas for exploring deeper philosophical and social ideas.

Included in the play are best-known poems such as “Birches,” “Mending Wall,” “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening,” and ‘The Road Not Taken.”

Clapp said that when he performs, he can feel an aura of expectation from certain audience members, hard-core Frost fans whom he calls “Frost-aceans” (like crustaceans). But he doesn’t attribute this energy to his acting. “They’re addicted to the poetry, and they’re so moved by it.” Clapp said. “I don’t give myself a lot of credit for that. It’s Frost himself right there.”

Gordon Clapp has played Robert Frost more than 130 times at regional theatres and college towns in ten states. Mr. Clapp’s long career in theatre, television, and film includes his most recent Broadway performances as J. Edgar Hoover to Brian Cox’s LBJ in The Great Society in 2019 and as Judge Taylor, opposite Jeff Daniels’ Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird in 2021. He was nominated for a Tony award in 2005 for Glen Garry Glen Ross, and In 2023 he played Gus Cudahy, the unexpected love interest of Mimi Kennedy’s “public intellectual” Prudence Payne, in the Arizona Theatre Company’s world premiere of Pru Payne and the title role of NFL legend Tommy McDonald in Tommy and Me at the Bucks County Playhouse. Numerous film credits include Matewan and Eight Men Out with loads of television guest and recurring roles. Clapp’s 12-season portrayal of Detective Greg Medavoy on NYPD Blue earned him the Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series in 1998. He has most recently been seen on HBO’s Mare of Easttown and Showtime’s American Rust. Mr. Clapp lives in Vermont with his wife, Elisabeth Gordon.

A.M. Dolan (playwright) was raised in Framingham and Wellesley in a theatre family.His mother, Muriel Dolan, taught voice and speech at Boston University and Brandeis University. She co-founded the Playhouse at Piccadilly Square in Newton with her husband, actor and critic Frank Dolan, and actress Anita Sangiolo in the 1970s. Andy has performed with Harbor Stage, Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theatre, Merrimack Rep, New Rep, and New Century theatres, among others. Robert Frost: This Verse Business won “Best New Play” (Kaplan Award) at the Eventide Arts Festival in 2010 and “Best Production” at the United Solo Festival in NYC in 2013. His two other plays are Five Live Poets and Dylan Thomas: In Country Heaven. He lives in Falmouth with his wife, Zoe Cardon.

Gus Kaikkonen (Director) credits include the New York production of Hindle Wakes nominated as Outstanding Revival by both the 2018 Drama Desk Awards and the Off Broadway Alliance. His direction of Robert Frost: This Verse Business starring Gordon Clapp won “Best Production” at New York’s United Solo Festival. He directed his own new translations of Dr. Knock and Donogoo at the Mint, as well as the NewYork premieres of N.C. Hunter’s A Picture Of Autumn and Harley Granville-Barker’s Farewell to the Theatre, among many others there. He has directed at the Pearl Theatre, Playhouse 91, the Phoenix Theatre Ensemble, Goodspeed, Ford’s Theatre, Geva, the Asolo, and the Philadelphia Theatre Company. From 1996 to 2021 he was the Artistic Director of PeterboroughPlayers, directing over 60 plays, and winning the New Hampshire Theatre Award for Best Director 11 times.

Robert Frost (poet) One of the most widely read and respected poets of the 20th century in the United States, Robert Frost received so many honorary degrees (27) that a friend made the commencement hoods into a quilt. He was the first poet to recite at a presidential inaugural and is the only poet to have won four Pulitzer Prizes. His great popularity contributed to a new consciousness and patronage of contemporary poets and writers in the 20th and 21st centuries. “What began in obscurity is ending in a blaze of publicity,” Frost quipped.

Some of Frost’s fame stemmed from the many entertaining “talks” he gave, often in college towns before mixed crowds of students, faculty, and local citizens. Before reading or “saying” his poems, he would allow himself “a little say-so” about whatever was on his mind. These general audiences witnessed some of his broadest thinking and humor. Was the platform performer the man? No. He said if you really wanted to know him, “read his complete works.” He disliked attempts by critics to categorize him, classifying himself simply as a poet who “wanted to be understood” and whose ambition was “to lodge a few poems where they will be hard to get rid of.”


Arturo Ofarrill
Arturo Ofarrill

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