Chris' Report from Project Shaw Reading at the Players Club 
Nov. 22, 2010
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Many Thanks to Chris!

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Photo by Genevieve Rafter Keddy
View more photos and article at
Photos by Genevieve Rafter Keddy
View more photos and article at
Project Shaw reading at the Players
Report & Photos below by Chris

(one quick correction to my Hamlet review.... her boots were soft black suede not velvet.) 

Once again I met up with my new found Kate friends before the reading. After a nice light meal the seven of us stormed The Players Club. 
Now this place is intimate and a beautiful place to see a reading. It's all wood paneled with huge beautiful old oil paintings of famous people gracing the walls. Busts and memorabilia of plays gone by.  Once you enter, there is a little foyer with marble flooring.  You can go downstairs which has a pool table and a little seating area with a small kitchenette. Almost like a mini diner with booths. More wonderful artwork glosses the walls. A wonderful pencil drawing of Spencer Tracey graces a wall right before the restrooms.

You walk up the stairs and that takes you to an open area with more wonderful artwork and a beautiful small settee used in Hamlet back in the 20's. A huge fireplace graces one wall and off to the left is the bar area and doors leading to the balcony that overlooks Gramercy Park.  After getting our tickets they opened the doors and we managed to get seats in the 4th and 5th row. Which started the general admission. The first 3 rows were all reserved. We filled out our raffle tickets and patiently counted the minutes till the play started.

Gordon Cox from VARIETY was the guest host and he had some nice things to say about Bernard Shaw and the plays we were about to see performed. 

The stage was set up with 4 nice plush brown leather seats and soft lighting to light the stage area. The microphones were set up on stands right in front of the stage as to be hidden and not obstruct any one's view.  

Five minutes before the start of the play Daniel Davis (played Niles in the TV show The Nanny) sat down towards the left of the stage. Kate's sister, niece and a friend sat down in the second row in front of us. Then David Staller got up on the stage and spoke about how 'The Players' came about and what the building was before it became this prominent social hang out area. He told us all that the Gladiators (what David was calling the actors) would be entering the arena coming from the back and walking down the aisle on the right.  Right passed me and my friends. I had an aisle seat, David came to me to make sure I kept my arm tucked in so it wouldn't get knocked by any of the actors walking down. 

David Staller was the narrator for both plays. He has a wickedly delightful sense of humor. He announced the actors and they all walked towards the stage. Leading was Wesley Taylor, followed by John Cullum, then Kate and bringing up the rear was Josh Grisetti.  As Kate got up to the second row she leaned over and gave her sister's shoulder a little shove. 

As you can see by the photos posted, she wore a black mock turtle neck sweater, a long black skirt with laced up black leather boots, earrings, a watch with a burberry band, and a slim sliver bracelet. Her hair was pulled off her face and held back with a tortise shell clip.

First up was all of them standing and reading little quotes from Shaw. They would each take a turn of reading off some very witty and extremely funny ones. 

Next up was the play 'The Fascinating Foundling'. This play is about a man and a woman who on the same day but different times visit a Lord Chancellor in hopes he can find them a mate and are very specific about what they will accept. The beginning of the play is all men. Kate did not have a part until about 10 minutes into the play. She sat there keeping track of the play with her book and watching the men on stage. During the funny parts she laughed right along with us all.  There was one particular funny moment where she was laughing so hard, she held her play book right up in front of her face until she gained back some control. But you could see her shoulders shaking with laughter. Then David announced her character, Anastasia Vulliamy's entrance.  She worked really well with the actors on stage. Her first few minutes are with Josh and they had impeccable timing with their one liners and great facial and body mannerisms to enhance either their indifference towards each other or disdain to one another. Which quickly turns to admiration once he learns she does have some standing in society. Wesley and John come back into the mix of it all and that does not detract at all. They all really worked well together and off each other. Again the timing was impeccable.  All up until the part where David narrates that someone is supposed to exclaim out something. There was a lull on stage, and then they all started to surreptitiously glance Josh's way.  All of a sudden he yells, 'oh yes, what he said'  Which had them all laughing uproariously onstage. Which in turn had us all laughing along with them.

I must say, Kate's sister (who looks just like her) has to be her number one fan. She laughed long and hard at all the funny parts and as Jamie and I agreed it looked like she was laughing at the way Kate would enunciate some of the words cause she would just fall out laughing after certain lines. 

At the end of this play we all clapped madly.  During the twelve minute intermission, they brought up all the things that were being raffled off.  A few framed quotes,  2nd edition books on Bernard Shaw. One on Mark Twain who is one of the founders of 'The  Players', and a signed poster of this night's cast.  I looked over to my friends and said, I want that.  Five minutes later, Carol had won a framed quote, and so did Amy. Next they draw for the signed poster and lo and behold David calls my name. After we all were excited a Kate fan won it, Val told me to beware when I leave cause she was jumping me for it. I did manage to get home with it.  

Next up was the play 'How he Lied to her Husband'. Again they all came down the aisle and Kate hip bumped her friend as she passed. She really was enjoying herself immensely this night. 

This play had everyone again on stage except for Josh Grisetti who had to leave. This had a lot of Kate in it. Right away it opens up with her and Wesley. He plays Henry her lover and John plays her husband Teddy. She of course is Aurora. A wealthy woman in all her refinery and overloaded in gold and diamond necklaces and bracelets and rings waiting to go to the theater. 

What a very funny little play. This drew lots of laughter. Especially when David narrates that her husband, a robust man, enters the room.  Except David said 'A ro-breast man enters the room'. Well we all howled with laughter cause John just turned to him with a look like 'really'. Kate fell out laughing and once again put the playbook up to hide her face, which took awhile to pull back down cause we were all now laughing at her lose of control.  Order was brought back and the play resumed, all the way up until David narrates that Aurora leaves the room.  As Kate turns to go back to her chair, she just doesn't walk there. Oh-no.  She turns like a regal woman, flips her imaginary hair off her shoulders, fluffs her imaginary trailing skirts, settles her imaginary necklaces and then flounces to her chair and re-fixes her imaginary skirts and train and then sits.  Well we all lost it and just started to laugh and then we all started to applaud wildly to the point David was flapping his hand to get us to settle down so he could resume the play.

Needless to say at the end, they got a standing ovation and when they pointed to Kate she got a resounding applause and even some cheering.  I now see why David keeps asking her to come back and perform for him. She brings vitality and much humor to his stage.  She really is a natural with comedy.

At the end as we were leaving we did see Sam Underwood and even James Rado who played the ghost in Hamlet.

We all trooped out to the lobby to pick up our winnings and waited off to the side while Kate greeted friends and family members.  She looked over and saw us all and waved us over. She kept her word from Hamlet and we all got a chance to speak with her and some of the ladies had gifts for her. She graciously accepted them all and thanked them all for them. I told her she was right, tonight was a lot more fun then Hamlet was. To which she laughed and said 'and not so hot either'. Lindsey asked her 'what's next'  and she mentioned another reading. I looked at her and said “New York?” She laughed and said this is the month of readings, but she wasn't sure if the next one up was open to the public. She will find out and let Connie know. (edited to add - sorry, this reading isn't open to the public) Then she graciously took a picture with us all.  Thanks to Jamie for having a camera with her. Me and her practically accosted some poor unsuspecting gentleman who looked completely befuddled but took the photo for us anyway. 

Kate made it a point to go to each one of us and thank us individually for coming out and seeing her.  Which I found to be very kind of her since she had friends and family waiting on her. She would touch you and then speak a bit with you. Which was fun but painful for me cause she mistakenly grabbed my sore arm. Then she looked down as her hand wrapped around the bandages and she snatched her hand away and exclaims, “Oh my God,I am so sorry!!” I told her don't worry about it, to which she reaches and grabs that arm again, realizes what she is doing and repeats the whole thing over. This time I said, no worries it's just flesh wound. She laughed and thankfully did not grab my arm again. 

She never made us feel rushed or even looked rushed.  Actually she looked radiant.  I said it in my review for LL&WIW, and I will say it again, here is a woman who is having the time of her life. Her smile was big and bright. Her laughter came from the belly and her eyes shone the entire night. 

Kate knows comedy and comedy adores her.