Christopher Kann (right) seeks the truth from Iris Grace in "The Children's Hour" at the Vineyard Playhouse. Photo by Ralph Stewart

From the mouths of babes

By Anna Marie D'Addarie - June 15, 2006

A silver anniversary is truly an accomplishment worth celebrating and the Vineyard Playhouse is planning a summer to remember. Opening the 25th summer season will be "The Children's Hour," by Lillian Hellman. The classic drama will run through July 1 and will kick off a summer featuring American playwrights who are or were Vineyard residents.

Ms. Hellman's first play, "The Children's Hour" opened on Broadway in 1934 and had a long, successful run. The subject matter was controversial for its time. The play is set in a girls' boarding school where malicious gossip destroys the lives of two teachers.

Ms. Hellman was born in New Orleans and her career as a playwright and author spanned five decades. She lived in Manhattan and on the Island and died here in 1984.

The current production of "The Children's Hour" is directed by playhouse artistic director MJ Bruder Munafo. The cast includes Heather Girardi and Molly Purves as the teachers and Island actor Iris Grace as Mary Tilford, the young schoolgirl who lies about her teachers. Also in the cast are Shelia Stasack, Jan O'Dell, Christopher Kann, and Nicole Galland. Other Islanders in the cast are Vivian Ewing, Zada Clarke, Marlan Sigelman, Sarah Johnson, Emma HallBilsback, and Katie Clarke.

The set designer is Stephen M. Zablotny; costume designer, Abigail Bailey; lighting designer, John Malinowski; and props and set dressing by Sally Cohn.

Join in the 25th anniversary celebration at the Vineyard Playhouse beginning with this powerful drama, "The Children's Hour."

"The Children's Hour," Tuesday through Saturday, Vineyard Playhouse, 24 Church Street, Vineyard Haven. Curtain times: Tuesday and Wednesday, 7 pm; Thursday, 3 pm and 8 pm; Friday and Saturday, 8 pm. Previews Wednesday, June 14, and Thursday, June 15, show runs through July 1. Ticket prices range from $20 to $35 with discounts for previews, matinees, and Tuesday night shows. For reservations or information, call 508-696-6300. Visit This play is not recommended for children under 12 years of age.