Merrimack Repertory Theatre Blog



The Voice of the Turtle, written by John Van Druten is a lovely, fresh and surprisingly-modern 1943 romantic comedy about single life and sexual yearning in wartime Manhattan. A serviceman on leave finds himself without a date or a place to stay, only to accidentally arrive at the apartment of a wide-eyed young actress. Directed by MRT audience favorite Carl Forsman, at Merrimack Repertory Theatre, January 5 – January 29, 2012. Subscriptions and individual tickets are available online at or by calling 978-654-4MRT.

The cast of The Voice of the Turtle features Hanley Smith (Sally Middleton), Megan Byrne (Olive Lashbrooke) and William Connell (Bill Page), all in their MRT debuts. OBIE Award winner Carl Forsman returns to MRT for a fourth time, have previously directed Heroes, The Breadwinner, and Beasley’s Christmas Party. The creative team for The Voice of the Turtle is IRNE-Winner Bill Clarke (Scenic Design), Theresa Squire (Costume Design) and Josh Bradford (Lighting Design).

Voice of the Turtle was one of the plays that put my NY theater, Keen Company, on the map,” director Carl Forsman recounts. “It’s one of my favorite plays I’ve ever directed, and I am so excited to be directing this production at my favorite home away from home, MRT. In 2001, my theater produced Voice of the Turtle. Our original production opened on Sept. 9, 2001. Like all the NY theaters, we did what the mayor asked, and reopened on Sept. 14th. Our theater was on 24th Street, and the city was shut down below 14th street. When we performed that night, there was literally smoke in the theater. Suddenly, our romance about a soldier about to deploy in World War II who has a romance with an actress seemed like a very important story.

“I still think it is the most deft American romance ever told – full of feeling and humor and loads of heart and charm. But I also know that its secret power is that it reminds everyone that our chances for love are stuck in small moments, and we have to seize our chances when they come, because the future is uncertain. I can’t wait to share this beautiful play with the Lowell community. Voice of the Turtle is still one of the longest-running plays in Broadway history, and with good reason: it’s simply a beautiful story, beautifully told.”

Playwright John Van Druten (1901-1957) was born in London and originally practiced law before pursuing a career as a writer. He enjoyed tremendous success in the West End in the 1920’s & 30’s with Young Woodley, Diversion, After All, London Wall, There’s Always Juliet, Somebody Knows, Behold, We Live, and Flowers of the Forest. He later moved to America and wrote one of his most successful works, The Voice of the Turtle. He directed the Broadway production, which ran for 1,558 performances from 1943-47, making it the 9th longest-running play in Broadway history. Van Druten also directed the first production of The King and I in 1951, which ran for 1,246 performances on Broadway. He also published two novels, Young Woodley and The Vicarious Years, and two autobiographies, The Way to the Present and The Widening Circle: Personal Search.

MRT’s 2011-2012 Season is sponsored by Lowell Bank. The Voice of the Turtle is sponsored by Lowell General Hospital, with additional support from WCAP. Merrimack Repertory Theatre is funded in part by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.


Hanley Smith

Hanley Smith (Sally Middleton) Merrimack Repertory Theatre: debut. New York: Princess Clementine in Frog Kiss, New York Musical Theatre Festival; Dorothy Collins in Powerhouse, Alice in First Kids, Mrs. Givings in In The Next Room (or The Vibrator Play), Laura in The Glass Menagerie, New York International Fringe Festival. Other: USO Liberty Belle, Associate Artist with Sinking Ship Productions, Adult Education Coordinator for R. Evolucion Latina, a non-profit organization that seeks to make a difference through the arts. Special Note: Hanley is absolutely thrilled to be here at MRT working with such talented people on such a lovely gem of a show. Much love and gratitude to cherished family and friends.

Megan Byrne

Megan Byrne (Olive Lashbrooke) Merrimack Repertory Theatre: debut. Off Broadway: A Light Gathering of Dust, The Europeans, PTP/NYC; No End of Blame, Alice in War, Summer Play Festival, Speak Truth to Power, The Culture Project; Silent Laughter, Lambs Theatre; The Voice of the Turtle, The Keen Company; Either/Or, Dido Furens, New York International Fringe Festival. Regional: When Tang Met Laika, four other plays, Denver Theatre Company; O’Neill Playwrights Conference, Virginia Stage Company, Geva Theatre, Pioneer Theatre Company, Olney Theatre Center and the Kennedy Center. Film: Julie & Julia with Meryl Streep, The Rebound, Ghost Town, Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead. TV: Nurse Jackie, Royal Pains, Blue Bloods, The Prince of Motor City (ABC pilot), Kings, All My Children, Law and Order: Criminal Intent, 3 Lbs., Ed and a recurring role on Law and Order. Awards: NYIT Award for Best Featured Actress in No End of Blame. Ovation Award Nomination for When Tang Met Laika. Education: MFA, University of California, Irvine. BA, Middlebury College.

William Connell

William Connell (Bill Page) Merrimack Repertory Theatre: debut. Broadway: A View From the Bridge (2010 revival), The Coast of Utopia. Off Broadway: Alphabetical Order, The Maddening Truth, The Keen Company; All’s Well That Ends Well, Theatre for a New Audience; The Tempest, Sonnet Repertory Theatre; Sherlock Holmes – The Early Years, New York Musical Theatre Festival; The Dinner Party, Lincoln Center Institute; Mary Stuart, New York Classical Theatre. Regional: Hamlet (title role), Aspen Music Festival; As You Like It, Weston Playhouse; Murder on the Nile, Dorset Theatre Festival; The Glass Menagerie, Two River Theatre; Pride and Prejudice, GEVA Theatre. TV & Film: Smash, Law and Order, Gossip Girl, Guiding Light, Twilight Zones. Education: BFA, University of North Carolina School of the Arts.

Visit Merrimack Repertory Theatre Online


2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

My wife and I saw a great play today. Hanley Smith was so enthusiastic and funny and what a great actress, along with William Connell and Megan Byrne.
Thank you to three great professionals, who
dedicate their life to the theatre.
The Merrimack Valley appreciates your professionalism…Peace..Bill Deignan

Comment by Bill Deignan

Thank you, Bill for your wonderfully kind words! We are so glad you and your wife enjoyed the show.

Comment by merrimackrep

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s