Thoughts & Musings

Newport Actress Garners Second Shot at 2nd Story

'Susie is a terrific company member. She helps to create community and contributes to the esprit de corps. She doesn’t seem to age. She always brings a lovely, sprite-like energy to everything she does.'

by James Merolla, Newport This Week
Fleur and Bob Stein played by Susie Bowen-Powers and Joseph Henderson

Newporter Susan Bowen Powers with Joe Henderson performs at 2nd Story Theatre in Warren. The troupe launched Powers’ Rhode Island career 35 years ago, and the theater itself got its start in Newport in 1978.

There is an old theater saying that goes, “Never have a clock onstage.” Maybe that’s to prevent scenes that will feel too long, or too short, or maybe because audiences will become aware only of the time and won’t be able to suspend their disbelief.

Or maybe it means if you perform long enough, your first stage will inexorably come around again.

This is what has happened to actress Susan Bowen Powers, who is rehearsing for 2nd Story Theatre’s upcoming production of the dark comedy “And Miss Reardon Drinks a Little,” which opened in previews on April 17.

Powers first joined 2nd Story in 1979 when it ran shows above Harry’s Harborside Bar in Newport (see main story). Her first show then, ironically, was “And Miss Reardon Drinks a Little.”

Powers, who is once again a staple in the troupe after an extended hiatus, is a longtime Newporter.

“The productions have always been tight, well-acted and wellappreciated by audiences. Reviewers have also acknowledged the quality of the performance work,” said Powers. “It has a long connection to Newport.

I am very pleased to continue to work with them,” she added.

“And Miss Reardon Drinks a Lit- tle” is also back at 2nd Story, in their downstairs theater, after 35 years. The only minor change is that Powers is playing a different part.

“In this play, the audience is witness to an eventful evening; one that makes you laugh, makes you uncomfortable, and, makes you think,” said Powers. “Like George and Martha in ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf,’ the gloves come off, and we are all captive on a wild ride.”

Time has erased the bonds that bind the Reardon sisters. One married and cut herself off from family; another drinks more than she should; and the third, after a scandalous incident at the school where she teaches, is on the brink of madness. The play is a biting blend of comedy and drama that probes the baggage-filled relationships of three sisters whose lives are on the brink of chaos.

Ed Shea, 2nd Story co-founder and artistic director, has theater credits perhaps longer than any other performer in the East Bay. He is glad to have Powers back. “Susie is a terrific company member. She helps to create community and contributes to the esprit de corps. She doesn’t seem to age. She always brings a lovely, sprite-like energy to everything she does,” said Shea.

He added that the audience can expect “a darkly funny roller coaster ride where laughter and shock are two sides of the same coin.”

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