A scene from the coming-of-age comedy/drama, Summer of '42.
Staying on track with their impressive lineup of summer productions, the Bucks County Playhouse brings Summer of ’42 to the stage for three weeks of performances, which began on July 25. Based on the original 1971 screenplay by Herman Raucher, the play mixes comedy, drama, and tragedy as it follows three teenage boys living off the coast of Maine for the summer during Word War II. We caught up with Tony Award-nominated Summer of ’42 director Hunter Foster to find out more.
What was it like to direct such an iconic story? HUNTER FOSTER: It was a very interesting process. I thought I had explored a lot of the story but in directing the actors in this production, I found a lot of new things and we changed the script a lot. I wanted it to be its own thing—not the production we did off Broadway in 2001 or the motion picture—but its own unique experience for the audience.
What can the audience expect from Summer of '42? HF: It's a coming-of-age story that people of all ages can relate to. I mean, we all know what it's like to go through the pangs of adolescence whether it's 2013 or 1942. And there's something beautifully tragic about the end of the story. Sometimes in the most horrific events you can find incredible beauty.
How has your experience at the Bucks County Playhouse compared to other venues? HF: Bucks County has been accommodating; New Hope is getting to see some of theater's best. Jed Bernstein [BCP director] has also produced on Broadway so it's nice to have [that] experience around you to help [out] creatively.
How does working on a musical compare to working on other plays? HF: Musicals are complex with many different parts: music, lyrics, orchestrations, choreography, and libretto. In order for them to work, all the parts need to work together in telling the same story. That's a difficult task, but done effectively, musicals can be thrilling.
During each of the 22 performances, Bucks County Playhouse will honor and thank a military veteran for their services. The play will run through August 11 and tickets ($29-$58) are available on bcptheater.org. 70 S. Main St., New Hope, 215-862-2121