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Theatre And Dance Presents 1940s Comedy ‘Light Up The Sky’

Scene from "Light Up The Sky"
Scene from "Light Up The Sky"

Light Up the Sky a Moss Hart comedy set in the 1940s heyday of egotistical Broadway stars and lavish theatrical productions will be presented Tuesday to Saturday, March 2 to 5 by the Keene State College Department of Theatre and Dance.

Light Up the Sky, the final play directed by rertiriing Keene State Theatre Professor Daniel L. Patterson, will be staged at 7:30 p.m. each evening with a 2 p.m. matinee added on Saturday, March 5, in the Wright Theatre of the Redfern Arts Center on the KSC campus. Tickets are $10 for the general public, $8 for senior citizens, and $6 for KSC students. Call the Redfern Box Office at 603-358-2168 or order online at

Set in Boston’s Ritz Carlton Hotel, considered the fanciest hotel in Massachusetts at the time, is the perfect back drop for this satire about star power egos as they launch a new play on the then off-Broadway circuit hoping for a smash hit to bring to the Big Apple. The costumes reflect the glamour of the 1940s with women dressed in fabulous evening gowns and furs and coifed hairstyles. Back then the actors in both Hollywood and Broadway were equal in star status and set the style for theatre and film genres.

“The play is really a satire about egos with the actors starting out as friends, then turning on each other when the play falters,” explains Patterson, who chose Light up the Sky as the last play he will direct after teaching 37 years at KSC because it was one of the first plays he directed in the fall of 1984. Several KSC alumni who were in the first production return to the stage along with other alumni who worked with Patterson throughout the years on the many productions he directed at Keene State.

Light Up the Sky remains funny today because of its satirical look at theatrical types such as the prima dona actress and the maniacal actors, Light Up the Sky is a lesser known play by Moss Hart, who was best known for his collaborations with George Kaufman such as You Can’t take it With You and The Man Who Came to Dinner. Hart, who was married to actress Kitty Carlisle, also directed many plays including the musicals A Star is Born, Camelot, and My Fair Lady.

Light up the Sky ends in a typically happy fashion for that era with the disgruntled actors being shamed by the disgusted playwright into realizing how petty and fickle they have been, deciding to have faith in the play and take risks as a group, said Patterson.

The 13 member cast includes six alumni who are acting or working on the show.

Brendan Denehy of Milford, N.H., and Mia Moravis and P.J. Cooke both of Keene, NH., all of whom appeared in the first production of Light of the Sky return to play the same or different roles. KSC alumnus Emily Dickson is the set designer and Jacque Bilodeau, owner of Salon Jacque in Brattleboro, Vt., creates the actresses extravagant 1940s era hairstyles.

KSC theatre students in the play include Molly Millard of Barrington, MA., Matthew Geary of Exeter, NH., Megan Pereira of Randolph, N.J., Meg Lacey of Holliston, MA., Mitch Hodge of Windham, Maine, Justin Posnanski of Auburn, NH., Tony Gentile of Plaistow, NH., and Griffin Baker of New Milford, CT. Lissy Barnes of Winooski, VT., is the stage manager. KSC Theatre Professor Elizabeth Roos is the costume designer, KSC students Tyler Bean is the lighting designer, and Will Adams is the sound designer.

About Keene State Theatre and Dance Department

The Department of Theatre and Dance is dedicated to providing a comprehensive course of study that balances theory and practice within a sound liberal arts education. The collaborative nature of theatre and dance disciplines fosters an atmosphere in which students work closely with peers and faculty to gain practical experience in all facets or production and critical engagement. As artists and teachers, our primary focus is to encourage and guide our students as they find their creative voices and experience and question the world through the arts. For more information about the Theatre and Dance Department, visit or call 603-358-2162.

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