The center is home to the theater, a busy activity room, and a coffee shop with wi-fi. There’s an art gallery in town where Wulp’s paintings were exhibited earlier this year, and a couple of inns.
“North Haven has been in many families for many years, both year-round and summer families,” Hallowell said. “A lot of people have a very emotional connection to North Haven, and it is an incredibly beautiful place. It is a little different than other places, especially the more modernized the world gets.
“For example, some of the cast and crew of ‘Red Eye’ are quite concerned because their cellphones are not going to work well here,” Hallowell said with a chuckle, “and that’s just how it is.”
A theater on Nantucket, where Wulp lived in the 1960s and ’70s, planned to do both “Dracula” and “Red Eye” this year, and Wulp envisioned a two-island tour for the show.
But when “Red Eye” fell by the wayside there, Wulp and his North Haven supporters decided to go ahead with its five performances, even though that meant they had to raise more money to cover expenses.
“The initial desire to do [‘Red Eye’] had to do with honoring John, thanking John, and just having another experience of working with John on North Haven,” Hallowell said.
Mind you, Wulp has high standards on the island just as on Broadway.
“He is very demanding and very exacting,” Hallowell said, beginning to laugh. “I have said, ‘John, we don’t want to make everybody crazy trying to make it perfect.’ And he says, ‘Yes, it has to be perfect.’ ”
Thursday and Friday night performances were already sold out earlier this week, and everyone was optimistic about the rest. But Wulp said most of the $140,000 production budget came as contributions from friends, islanders, and businesses.
Most of the cast and crew come from the New York theater world. But 8-year-old Ryan Twombly-Hussey of North Haven plays Wilmer and Selma’s son Bez as a boy. Islanders are doing the sound, running the lights, and taking tickets.
“I’m going to bring my family and have some down time in Maine, which will be lovely,” Sperling said. “It just feels like a good way to do this show, to try it on its feet in front of a friendly audience in a controlled, small setting without the pressures of doing it in New York.”
It will be a memorable weekend for islanders and theater folks alike, but it’s not clear if “Red Eye of Love” will have a life after this weekend. Sperling said he has thoughts of putting on a showcase back in New York to see what kind of support the musical might attract.
“If this play is as good as I think it is, I cannot help but hope that something will happen with it,” Wulp said. “But I have found it physically very difficult working on this show, and if it does move, that’s Ted’s domain.”
Joel Brown can be reached at email@example.com.