Noel Coward play caps season for theatre department of Vanderbilt University, "Hay Fever" premieres April 9

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Each member of a theatrical, bohemian family invites a guest for a blissful weekend in the English countryside, a ripe setting for the urbane wit of Noel Coward in his 1925 classic "Hay Fever."

The theatre department of Vanderbilt University caps its season with the production, its first of a Coward play in nearly two decades.

"Hay Fever" opens at 8 p.m. on Friday, April 9, in Neely Auditorium on the Vanderbilt campus. Performances follow at 8 p.m. April 10, 15, 16 and 17. There will be a matinee on Sunday, April 11, at 2 p.m.

Admission is $7 for the general public, $4 for Vanderbilt graduate students and free for Vanderbilt undergraduates.

"I have a special fondness for Coward," said Jon Hallquist, co-director of the theatre department and director of its production of "Hay Fever."

"Coward wrote ‘Hay Fever’ in 1924 after one of his early visits to America," Hallquist said. "He had been invited to the home of Laurette Taylor (the original Amanda in "The Glass Menagerie") and her playwright husband, Hartley Manners. This household was famous for its unorthodox parties and bohemian atmosphere."

Coward wrote "Hay Fever" in three days after the experience. It was memorably staged in 1964 by the National Theatre with stars Edith Evans, Maggie Smith and Lynn Redgrave.

Coward (1899-1973) wrote and performed his way to international fame and knighthood after being born to a poor family in a village outside of London. His plays include "Private Lives," "Blithe Spirit" and "The Vortex." He also wrote songs including "Mad Dogs and Englishmen," "Mad About the Boy" and "I’ll See You Again."

For reservations or ticket information, call 615-322-2404 or e-mail for Lisa Barksdale. Neely Auditorium is between Sarratt Student Center and Kirkland Hall on the Vanderbilt campus.

For more information, see, the Vanderbilt University theatre department website.

Media contact: Jim Patterson, (615) 322-NEWS

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