TNT starts new season with new seats

‘’Til Beth Do Us Part’ opens Friday

NILES — The changes won’t be limited to on stage when Trumbull New Theatre kicks off its 2018-19 season.

Patrons at the community theater will find brand new seats and a new color scheme in the performance space when “‘Til Beth Do Us Part” opens on Friday.

The old red and black seats, with their cracked plastic frames that could pinch an unsuspecting theatergoer, were removed at the end of last season and replaced with seats that should be more comfortable.

TNT Secretary Lisa Bennett said, “The seats are significantly wider. The old ones were about 15 inches. These are around 19 inches.”

The wider seats mean a slightly smaller capacity for the venue, dropping from 168 people to 156 audience members.

About 130 patrons pledged $200 to sponsor a seat, Bennett said, and TNT will continue to sell sponsorships until all of the seats have sponsor plaques.

“The bill is covered, but we’d like to recoup some of the money,” she said.

TNT volunteers took advantage of the seats being removed to make other renovations, such as adding floor lighting and changing the interior from red to blue.

“We wanted to make it look fresher,” Bennett said.

The women’s committee, led by Micky Burnsworth, raised the additional money needed for the improvements through its 50 / 50 raffles, candy sales and other activities.

“”Til Beth Do Us Part” will be the first opportunity for audiences to see the changes. The comedy was written by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten, who also penned “The Dixie Swim Club,” which TNT staged as part of its 2014-15 season.

The play tells the story of Suzannah and Gibby, who have been married for 27 years. The “Beth” of the title is the assistant Suzannah hires to get the house in order while she focuses on her job with Carmichael’s Chocolates.

Gibby bristles at Beth’s increasing involvement in their lives, and the relationship really is strained when Beth convinces Suzannah that the best way to get the house working more efficiently is to get rid of Gibby.

Debra Nuhfer directs a cast featuring Wendy Sly, Herb Everman, Kathy Telego, Kathy Purdum, Alan Purdum and Micky Burnsworth.

Nuhfer has directed several mysteries at TNT. While “Beth” definitely is a comedy, the director said there are some thriller elements to the story.

“There are a couple of twists to it,” Nuhfer said. “The thriller part is figuring out what’s going on with Beth and some of the other characters.”

Nuhfer said her appreciation for the script has increased during rehearsals.

“Bringing it to life, you see more of the humor in it than when you read it,” she said.