WHAT Theater Welcomes the Return of Gip Hoppe and Announces an Exciting 2017 Season!

Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater is proud to announce its 33rd season of live theater, the 2017 Summer Concert Series, and a few very special events. Jeffry George, Executive Artistic Director, and Christopher Ostrom, Managing Director and Artistic Associate, stated that in times of transition it’s important to reflect on the power of healing through relationships. Each production this season takes a unique view on how the human race navigates through tender and tough times in relating to each other. Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater is the award-winning theater company that inspired “a new vigor for theater on the Cape” (New York Times). Now moving into its 33rd year, WHAT continues to be a sounding board for new and bold ideas, presenting “continually adventurous theater” (Boston Globe), and year-round programming. The state-of-the-art Julie Harris Stage is a tribute to the six-time Tony award-winning actress and WHAT’s Honorary Board Chair in Perpetuity.

Among the exciting announcements this year is the return of one of WHAT’s founders, Gip Hoppe. Executive Artistic Director, Jeffry George says “We are thrilled to have Gip returning to Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater on the Julie Harris stage as Gardner Church in Painting Churches. He will be reunited with Laura Esterman playing his wife Fanny Church.”

Gip Hoppe (right), with Stephen Russell in Greater Tuna, 1987 WHAT photo

The WHAT 2017 Theater Season is:


Romeo and Juliet By William Shakespeare, In association with Psittacus Productions and Lincoln Center Education

March 23 – April 9, 2017, Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m.; Sunday at 3:00 p.m.

Featuring a versatile cast of five performers, this Romeo and Juliet focuses on the impulsiveness of the teenager, adult efforts to guide and support him or her, and the miscommunication that can happen across the generation gap. Utilizing original music and stylized movement, this adaptation offers a fresh look at a familiar story. This production was developed through the education programs at Lincoln Center.


Sex with Strangers By Laura Eason

May 18 – June 10, 2017, Thursday through Saturday at 8:00 p.m.; Sunday at 3:00 p.m.

When twenty-something star sex blogger and memoirist Ethan tracks down his idol, the gifted but obscure fortyish novelist Olivia, he finds they each crave what the other possesses. As attraction turns to sex, and they inch closer to getting what they want, both must confront the dark side of ambition and the trouble of reinventing oneself when the past is only a click away.


Painting Churches By Tina Howe

June 15 – July 9, 2017, Thursday through Monday at 8:00 p.m.

Gardner and Fanny Church are preparing to move out of their Beacon Hill house to their summer cottage on Cape Cod. Gardner, once a famous poet, now is retired. He slips in and out of senility as his wife Fanny valiantly tries to keep them both afloat. They have asked their daughter, Mags, to come home and help them move. Mags agrees, for she hopes as well to finally paint their portrait. She is now on the verge of artistic celebrity herself and hopes, by painting her parents, to come to terms with them and they with her. 


The Empaths By John Markus and Rebecca Bazell – World Premier! 


July 20 – August 19, 2017, Wednesday through Monday at 8:00 p.m.

The Empaths, an irreverent comedy, mines the complex landscape of shifting societal mores, family roles, and the expectations of relationships. 

Celine, a 30-something serial entrepreneur playing with her father’s money, is faced with the adult challenge of finding love. After randomly meeting Lichen, an overly-compassionate SNAG (Sensitive New Age Guy). Celine is instantly convinced Lichen is The One. In order to ensure the relationship sticks, Celine tricks him and her wizened psychotherapist into having their first six dates in couples counseling, with all outside contact forbidden.


Death and the Maiden By Ariel Dorfman

August 24 – September 24, 2017, Thursday through Monday at 8:00 p.m.

Set in an unnamed country that is, like the author’s native Chile, emerging from a totalitarian dictatorship, the play explores the after effects of repression on hearts and souls. Paulina Escobar’s husband Gerardo is to head an investigation into past human rights abuses. A Dr. Miranda stops at Escobars’ to congratulate Gerardo. Paulina overhears them speaking and is convinced that Miranda supervised her prison torture sessions. She ties him to a chair and conducts her own interrogation, gun in hand. Escobar doesn’t know whether to believe his distraught wife or his persuasive new friend. This white knuckle thriller is a riveting intellectual and emotional tug of war. 


The Turn of the Screw Adapted by Jeffrey Hatcher From the novel by Henry James

October 19 – November 5, 2017, Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m.; Sunday at 3:00 p.m.

Based on the provocative tale of suspense, horror and repressed sexuality, this adaptation gives the famous story yet another turn of its own. A young governess journeys to a lonely English manor house to care for two recently orphaned children. But she is not their first governess. Her predecessor, Miss Jessel, drowned herself when she became pregnant by the sadistic valet, Peter Quint, who was himself found dead soon after under mysterious circumstances. Now the new governess has begun to see the specters of Quint and Jessel haunting the children, and she must find a way to stop the fiends before it is too late. But one frightening question tortures the would-be heroine: Are the ghosts real, or are they the product of her own fevered imagination? 


Back by popular demand:

Absolute Brightness Written and Performed by James Lecesne Directed by Tony Speciale

July 13 – 16, 2017, Thursday through Saturday at 8:00 p.m.; Sunday at 3:00 p.m.

Acclaimed by audiences and critics alike last summer, James Lecesne returns for a limited run of Absolute Brightness.


New this year:

24 Gun Control Play (a reading)

By Elaine Avila, Neil Blackadder, Kyle Bostian, Alex Bround, Gab Cody, Tameka Cage Conley, Cecilia Copeland, Amina Henry, Yvette Heylinger, Zac Kline, Neil Labute, Jennifer Maisel, Lynn Manning, Oliver Mayer, Chiori Miyagawa, Winter Miller, Matthew Paul Olmos, Ian Rowlands, August Schulenburg, Saviana Stanescu, Caridad Svich, Chris Weikel, Gary Winter, and Laura Zann

June 21, 2017 at 7:30 p.m.

A curated evening of short plays addressing the topic of gun control in the United States.  Andy Parker and Barbara Parker, the founders of Whatever It Takes, an advocacy group founded after the tragic death of their daughter at the hands of a gunman, have expressed interest in attending and leading a talk back.


Seeger Written and performed by Randy Noojin

October 12-16, 2017, Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m Sunday at 3:00 p.m.

Pete Seeger, America’s most beloved folksinger/activist, plays a multimedia benefit concert in Washington, D.C. advocating free speech in Cuba using his greatest folk songs to tell of his personal battles for free speech in America, and how a sailboat helped clean up the Hudson River. From the creator of Hard Travelin’ with Woody.



Summer Concert Series

June 27, 2017  Debra Mann performs the music of Joni Mitchell

June 28, 2017  Stage Door Canteen

July 5, 2017     Cassandra McKinley and the Cape Cod Jazz Quartet

July 11, 2017   Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival

July 12, 2017   Cercie Miller


WHAT For Kids! Written and Directed by Stephen Russell

July 12 – August 23, 2017, Monday through Thursday at 7:30 p.m.

Entering its 16th Summer, WHAT for Kids returns to the new Larry Phillips WHAT for Kids Performance Pavilion with another original play for the whole family from local favorite Stephen Russell.


The Players Ball WHAT’S Annual Gala

Tuesday July 25, 2017

Featuring delicious food and drink, entertainment, and a live auction. 


Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater is located at 2357 Route 6, Wellfleet


About Cat Wilson

Cat Wilson is "That Girl" on Cape Country 104 – a Cape Cod native and longtime Cape radio personality. She is a passionate supporter of Military and Veteran causes on the Cape and also hosts local music spotlight program, “The Cheap Seats” on Ocean 104.7.

737 West Main Street
Hyannis, MA 02601
Contact Us | Advertise Terms of Use 
Employment and EEO | Privacy