"Rumors" by Neil Simon opens with hilarity at Saint Michael's Playhouse

By: Buff Lindau

rumors by neil simon cast shot at saint michael's playhouse Cast of Saint Michael's Playhouse production of Rumors, from L. to R, seated: Bill Carmichael, Amanda Ryan Paige, Chip Phillips, Sarah Carleton; standing: Brenda Pitmon, Christian Kohn, Kathryn Markey, Craig Wells. Photo by Buff Lindau

A team of experienced pros with extensive Broadway, regional and TV experience, will perform the hilarious, madcap comedy Rumors, by Neil Simon, at the Saint Michael's Playhouse July 17 to 27. The show will be staged, evenings at 8 p.m. July 17 to 20, and 23-27 and matinees at 2 p.m. July 20 and 27.

"Each year we like to include a play that's non-stop comedy, and this summer, it's Neil Simon's hilarious, Rumors," said Chuck Tobin, producing artistic director of the Playhouse. " Audiences are going love this play... its non-stop laughs from start to finish - Neil Simon sets this up so quickly, gets the comedy going, and then it's madcap laughter all the way through," Tobin said.

Rumors centers around four well-to-do couples played by top-notch acting pros, who gather in an elegant residence for a dinner party celebrating their hosts' anniversary. When they arrive they discover there is no dinner prepared, the hostess is missing, and the host, who is also the deputy mayor of New York City, has been shot. Their decision to conceal everything from the police and the press spins the evening into classic farcical hilarity.

"Rumors is sheer comic bliss, cunningly structured, with almost mathematical precision and elegance. Just about every farcical trope is visited: doors are slammed, identities are mistaken, and the rich and powerful are mercilessly and hilariously brought down a peg or two," said Director Thomas Ouellette.

"A director is like a master chef, and Rumors at Saint Michael's Playhouse is, for me, a perfect meal - a light, midsummer confection - because of the top-notch ingredients: a brilliantly constructed script by Neil Simon, an inspired cast of the funniest actors I know, and the chance to spend July in Vermont," Ouellette added.

Playhouse accolades:

Saint Michael's Playhouse, now in its 66th season, is an award-winning professional theater, recognized by NYC Drama League as "one of the best regional theater companies in America," and named "Best of New England" by Yankee Magazine

Director: Thomas Ouellette is very pleased to return to VT and to Saint Michael's Playhouse, where he has previously directed Blithe Spirit and Educating Rita. He recently directed David Mamet's Race at the Orlando Shakespeare Theatre and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof at the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival. Previous Orlando Shakes directing credits include Romeo and Juliet, Pride and Prejudice, Arms and the Man, and I Hate Hamlet. Also an actor, he appeared last season as Father Farley in Mass Appeal at Orlando's Mad Cow Theatre, and previously as Adam in Next Fall and Hysterium in …Funny Thing at MCT. He appeared as Montano in Othello at the Folger Shakespeare Theatre and in Shear Madness at the Kennedy Center, both in Washington, DC. Thomas has taught directing and acting at Rollins College in Central FL since 1996, where he has served as Chair of the Department of Theatre & Dance and Producing Director of the storied Annie Russell Theatre, where he has directed and acted in over a dozen on-campus productions.

Cast (in their own words) in alphabetical order:

Sarah Carleton (Cookie) is thrilled to be part of this year's season at Saint Michael's Playhouse. Professional acting credits include: Over The Pub, Always Patsy Cline, The Brighton Beach Trilogy, Much Ado About Nothing, Taming of the Shrew, and Unnecessary Farce at regional theaters from Washington, D.C to Burlington, VT. Directing credits include: The Arabian Nights, Beaux' Stratagem, Cloud 9, Complete Female Stage Beauty, She Stoops To Conquer, Greater Tuna, and Almost Maine. During the height of the solidarity movement Sarah taught and performed in Poland at the University of Poznan where she directed Love of Life, a play developed by her Polish students. Sarah teaches and directs at UVM, is a proud member of Actor's Equity Association, Society of American Fight Directors and is a certified Kripalu teacher.

Bill Carmichael (Ken) Saint Michael's Playhouse: Pirates, Barnum, How the other half loves, Breaking up is hard to do, Blithe spirit, Drowsey Chaparone, I'll be back before midnight and Unnecessary Farce. Bill was last seen on Broadway in Mamma Mia.  Other Broadway credits include Les Miserables, Cats, and Peter Pan.  Bill was in the original production of Forbidden Broadway and can be heard on the original cast recording.  In Los Angeles he was in the original US premiere of Ragtime, Forever Plaid and Sweeney Todd with Kelsey Grammer. 1st National tours include Phantom of the Opera, City of Angels, Cats and Ragtime. He has worked in theaters across the country including the Mark Taper Forum, Goodspeed Opera house, Eugene O'Neill theater center and the Public in NYC.

Christian Kohn (Glenn) has been seen in Sleuth and Shakespeare in Hollywood at the New London Barn playhouse. He has worked extensively in New York, Chicago and the regional circuit.  Some favorite productions he has appeared in are Hollywood Arms, with Hal Prince and Carol Burnett.  The title role in Sherlock Holmes: The Finale Adventure, An Ideal Husband , Trailerville, Death of A Salesman, Bug, The Real Hush-Hush , Phaedra directed by JoAnne Akalaitis, The Turn of the Screw, The Lion in Winter, The Gift Horse, David Copperfield  directed by Giles Havergal, Sideman,  Twelfth Night, and Mary Stuart, Henry V, Julius Caesar, Opus. Last summer he was seen in Unnecessary Farce and Over the Pub at Saint Michael's Playhouse. He currently teaches in the Theater Department at Dartmouth College.

Kathryn Markey (Claire) Playhouse appearances include Nunsense, The Drowsy Chaperone, the Brighton Beach trilogy, Perfect…Change, Pirates of Penzance and Suds, as well as directing Over The Pub,  Boeing, Boeing and Around the World in 80 Days. Other credits: Holidays with The Chalks, (Alliance Theatre), Over The Tavern (Penguin Rep), Parallel Lives, Dancing at Lughnasa (Northern Stage), Selected Shorts: Eudora Welty (NPR), Jumping Blind (Gayfest – world premiere), Separation (English Theatre of Stockholm.) Kathryn appeared on Broadway in 3 From Brooklyn and is a fixture at both the Broadway Playhouse series at Merkin Concert Hall and The Thalia Follies at Symphony Space. On-screen: SVU, Law and Order, All My Children, College Humor & Amateur Hour. Kathryn is one-third of the satirical country band "The Chalks," appearing regularly in bars, on TV and the internet.

Amanda Ryan Paige (Cassie) Off-B'way: Zanna Don't! (Houseman); Charlie Brown, Henry and Mudge (Lortel). Other NYC Credits: Trailer Park (NYMF); Awesome 80's Prom (workshop/co-writer); Dreams This Way/ Raw Impressions (TADA!); Babes In Toyland (Avery Fisher); Lucky Stiff (APAC). NationalTour: Fiddler, Water Coolers. Regional: Ring of Fire (Alhambra); Boeing Boeing, Pump Boys and Dinettes, Trailer Park (Mason Saint); Nunsense, Unnecessary Farce, Marvelous Wonderettes, Boeing Boeing, Perfect/Change, Brighton Beach Memoirs (Saint Michael's Playhouse); Nunsense, Boeing Boeing, Spelling Bee (Northern Stage); Ring of Fire (Fireside); Pump Boys and Dinettes, Trailer Park (Willows); Pump Boys and Dinettes, Stand By Your Man (Mtn. Playhouse); Urinetown (Carousel); Das Barbecu (Arvada); No, No Nanette (Goodspeed); Noises Off!, Brighton Beach Memoirs (Leatherstocking); Carousel, Over Here! (Conn. Rep)

Chip Phillips (Lenny) returns for his 4th season at Saint Mike's where he's appeared  in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Around the World in 80 Days, Brighton Beach Memoirs, Broadway Bound, Into the Woods and I Love You, You're Perfect,  Now Change.   He now lives in LA, where he recently performed in The Full Monty, Falsettos, and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. Off-Broadway, Chip has been seen in Machiavelli and Perfect Crime.  Regional credits include John Adams in 1776 ,  Sleuth,  Beauty and the Beast , The Front Page, Lend Me a Tenor, Das Barbecu , A Tuna Christmas, and Jackie: An American Life.

Brenda Pitmon (Chris) has appeared Off Off Broadway in The Adding Machine; "Portia" in Merchant of Venice; The Trial; and "Angela" in Fen.  In Europe at the Cafe Theatre in Frankfurt she played "Sybil" in Private Lives;  "Alison" in Look Back in Anger; "Gwendolyn" in The Importance of Being Earnest; and "Stella" in A Streetcar Named Desire.  European Tours; "Lizzie" in The Rainmaker; and "Mrs. Webb" in Our Town.  Brenda recently played "Melissa" in Love Letters at the Grand Isle Lake House. Brenda was a founding member of the Soho based theatre company Synchronicity Theatre Group (STG) in NYC, has worked on soap operas, commercials and voice overs. Brenda is thrilled to be appearing for the first time at Saint Michael's Playhouse. 

Craig Wells (Ernie) appeared on Broadway in Les Misérables and Chess (original cast recording).  Off-Broadway in Forbidden Broadway (original cast recording Forbidden Broadway Vol. 3), Closer Than Ever, Balancing Act (original cast recording).  He also appeared in the National Tours of Les Misérables and Pirates of Penzance.  Regional Theatre:  "King" in Big River (Syracuse Stage); Closer Than Ever (Arena Stage); "Max" in Lend Me a Tenor (Jupiter Theater); and "Sam" in Shenandoah (Saint Louis MUNY).  At Saint Michael's Playhouse, Craig played the "Man in Chair" in The Drowsy Chaperone and "Agent Frank" in Unnecessary Farce. He played "Andrew" in Love Letters at the Grand Isle Lake House, and at UVM he played "Herr Schultz" in Cabaret.

Creative Team

Producing Artistic Director, Chuck Tobin; Scenic Design, John Paul Devlin; Lighting Design, John B. Forbes; Costume Design, Anna Winter, and Properties Design, Mary Jo Rodriguez.


Saint Michael's Playhouse has been producing professional theater since 1947 and is located in Colchester, Vermont minutes from downtown Burlington and Lake Champlain. For more information and tickets, visit or call 802-654-2281. Ticket prices $31.50 – $42.50

Coming next

The sensational new blockbuster, Shout! the mod musical, July 31 - August 10, 2013, directed by Playhouse favorite Keith Andrews, EVENINGS: 8:00 p.m. July 31 - August 3, 6–10, Matinees: 2:00 p.m. August 3, 10. "Shout! is the mod musical that brings back the smashing sounds that made England swing in the 60's. From cover to cover, shout! travels in time from 1960 to 1970 chronicling the dawning of a new era. Everything in the period is recreated, from the fashions and dances to the music and hair. With an irresistible blend of foot-stomping songs, eye-popping fashions and psychedelic dances, this delightful musical will make you want to stand up and Shout!"

Playhouse background

The Saint Michael's Playhouse is housed in the Saint Michael's College McCarthy Arts Center, one of the finest theater facilities in the state; the Playhouse attracts approximately 16,000 theatergoers each season. Saint Michael's Playhouse is a professional company operating as an auxiliary enterprise of Saint Michael's College. The Playhouse is Greater Burlington's only Actors' Equity resident theater company and as such operates under contract with Actors' Equity Association in New York City. At the same time, Saint Michael's College students have the opportunity to learn from the pros through internships in technical theater, costuming, lighting, set construction, and publicity.

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