F'ville native returns for 'Hate Mail'

Jason Cicci is passionate about theatre. In fact, one could say he was bit by the acting bug at a pretty early age. As a teenager, Cicci used to produce theatre at Wellwood Auditorium in Fayetteville, and once he turned his tassel on graduation day at SU, he got bit by the travel bug and left to pursue an acting career in New York City.

"I've been acting, producing, and writing ever since," Cicci said.

Now the producing artistic director of Summerstage New York -- a professional summer theatre -- Cicci comes back each year to bring the stage alive again with professional well-known actors such as Nancy St. Alban and Paul Anthony Stewart for this year's production of "Hate Mail."

"Years ago there was an idea to reinstate the Famous Artists Playhouse in Fayetteville," Cicci said. "I know there's a lot of history at that theatre."

From the late 1940s until the mid 1960s, Wellwood Auditorium featured the greatest names of the stage and screen each summer. The Famous Artists Country Playhouse was even ranked number five in the country by the Council of Stock Managers Association, as one of the most desirable summer stock performance locations in the United States.

Cicci admits the entertainment business has changed since then, with big names very rarely being associated with play stages other than Broadway. However, he assures the talents that travel upstate to perform are not only established professionals, but also emerging directors, actors and designers of the theatre who will continue to preserve its legacy.

"All our actors that grace the stage at Wellwood Auditorium are certainly professionals in their own right and are very well known throughout the country," Cicci said.

'Hate Mail'

"Hate Mail," written by Bill Corbett and Kira Obolenski, has been around for more than a decade and premiered in NYC about 12 years ago.

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