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NYC theater founder directs "Hay Fever" at Nazareth College

Published October 05, 2018

Be ready for a 1920's romp as an eccentric, chaotic, misbehaved family takes over the Nazareth College Arts Center in Noël Coward's comedic play, Hay Fever, October 18-21. Hay Fever is presented by the Nazareth College Theatre and Dance Department and Theatre League.

Split into three acts, Hay Fever follows a hectic and frenzied weekend when the family discovers they each invited different guests to their home in the English countryside. "The family and outsiders live in two completely different worlds," said guest director Robert Moss. "The guests have no idea who these people are and the Bliss family has these guests there but they're not interested in them. They're a wacky family of artists who don't interact well with civilians." As a comedy of (bad) manners, the dysfunctional Bliss' find a way to make the guests weekend into a wild and comedic ordeal!

Moss is the founder of Playwrights Horizons in New York City, a writer's theatre designed to give playwrights a voice. Along with that, he was a stage manager on Broadway for a rep company. Moss also produced and directed at Ithaca's Hangar Theatre for 15 years followed by 12 years as artistic director at Syracuse Stage.

"At one point when I was 11 or 12, my parents took me to the theatre. That was it," said Moss. "It hasn't changed my life; it has been my life all my life."

Moss grew up in Newark, N.J., a destination only 30 minutes from the Big Apple, which provided him with plenty of opportunity to see theater in New York City. He worked in 40-50 plays throughout his primary schooling, at the Y, in summer stock, and in a local temple all four years of high school. After graduation, he moved straight to the city and was offered a job directing a play.

"My favorite play is always the one I'm working on," said Moss. Hay Fever is the first play he has directed at Nazareth College. "I think Noël Coward was a great entertainer and everything he has written was meant to entertain, and there's nothing wrong with that... but always, we can see ourselves, and perhaps, have an insight into what makes us human. And, if we accept the characters as truthful, we can be somewhat nudged into behaving better."

Catch Hay Fever onstage at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 18, Friday, October 19, and Saturday, October 20, as well as 2 p.m. on Saturday, October 20 and Sunday, October 21 in Callahan Theater at the Nazareth College Arts Center. Callahan Theater is located on the campus of Nazareth College at 4245 East Avenue, Rochester, 14618. Click here for more information or call the box office at 585-389-2170.

Story by Michaela Darbyshire

Nazareth College’s academic strengths cross an unusually broad spectrum of 60 majors, including education, health and human services, management, the fine arts, music, theater, math and science, foreign languages, and the liberal arts. The coeducational, religiously independent, classic campus in a charming suburb of Rochester, N.Y., challenges and supports 2,300 undergrads and 700 graduate students. Nazareth is recognized nationally for its Fulbright global student scholars and commitment to civic engagement. Rigorous programs, an uncommon arts and sciences core, experiential learning, career skills, and a global focus prepare graduates for not just one job, but for their life’s work.