Arts & Events

Press Release: Piedmont Oakland Repertory Theatre presents A. R. Gurney’s “What I Did Last Summer” November 1 – December 13
“PORT” Moves to Piedmont Avenue in Oakland—and hopes to STAY THERE.

Friday October 31, 2014 - 10:59:00 AM
L-R: Nathan Zabala, Rosie Fry, Cameron Dodd.
John A. McMullen
L-R: Nathan Zabala, Rosie Fry, Cameron Dodd.

The Piedmont Oakland Repertory Theatre will present a full production of A. R. Gurney’s “What I Did Last Summer” at 4137 Piedmont Avenue, Oakland. The play is directed by John McMullen and runs November 1 through December 13, with performances on Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. 

“What I Did Last Summer” is a reminiscence of Gurney’s teenage years in a privileged family in the Northeastern U.S. 

It’s July, 1945, and the war with Japan still rages. Husbands and dads are in the Pacific, and still in harm’s way. Teenage Charlie is summering with his mother and sister at their cottage on Lake Erie. Charlie’s mom is without her husband. She struggles with this rebellious teen-age son, with a sarcastic, snoopy daughter, and with her own loneliness and desires. She is at war with her old art teacher who vies with her for her son’s affections. It’s a hot summer, just before the whole world changes forever. But before the summer ends, Charlie will go through that all-too-universal adolescent rebellion, and along the way, will learn about girls, art, and about thinking for himself. 

The NY Post raved, "Bravo to all and particularly a bravo to that new sage and chronicler of the American white middle class, Gurney." The London Stage reviewed it as "…warm, touching and humorous, with something to say about the conflict between materialism and idealism which is so basic to the American dream."  

 The cast features Rosie Fry, Melanie Marshall, Brett Mermer, Alison Whismore, Susannah Wood, Nathan Zabala, and Cameron Dodd as "Charlie."
According to John McMullen, producer and artistic director of Piedmont Avenue Repertory Theatre (PORT), the group is “in love with” Piedmont Avenue and hopes to stay at 4137 Piedmont Avenue (across from Barney’s) for the foreseeable future. 

“The Piedmont Avenue neighborhood generates a great vibe for a theater. It’s a little bohemian and full of people who appreciate the arts,” he says.  

“We rented a space from the former tenants Capoeira. Agent Eva Chao and Miracles Happen LLC, the owners of 4137 Piedmont Ave., have been very generous in renting it to us for this production, and we are really hoping that we can share it with the next tenant. It would be great if we could have it to ourselves, but we don’t have a spare $70,000—understandably, rent on Piedmont Ave is prime. If there is an angel out there, ring the bell and get your wings!” McMullen added. 

This will be PORT’s third full production and their first on Piedmont Avenue. PORT has presented other Gurney plays: “The Dining Room” last year at Piedmont Center for the Arts and “Love Letters” at 4137. They did a fully staged production of Jerry Sterner’s “Other People’s Money” to great critical acclaim at Kehillah Synagogue this past spring. In the last few months, they have had “concert versions” of “In the Next Room: The Vibrator Play”, and presented a sold-out reading of David Mamet’s “Speed the Plow.” 

“We’re trying our best to keep admission prices low, charging only $22 for a ticket to this fully staged production,” McMullen says. “Besides that, we have very comfortable seating.” 

Tickets online now at www.PORT4137.INFO or call Brown Paper Tickets 800-838-3006. To be added to PORT’s email list, click on “Contact” at their website. 


Preview: Saturday, Nov. 1 at 8:00 pm and Sunday Nov. 2 at 2:30 pm. (Tickets $19) 

Opens: Sunday, November 2 at 8:00 pm 

Runs: Through Dec. 13 on Saturdays at 8:00 pm & Sundays 2:30 pm and 7:00 pm  

Tickets: All seats $22 ticketing online at www.PORT4137.INFO or phone Brown Paper Tickets 800-838-3006 ($25 at door).