Circle Theatre Players

Sand Lake Center for the Arts-Circle Theatre Players present John Ball’s In the Heat of the Night Adapted by Matt Pelfrey from John Ball’s Novel October 6-15

The town of Argo, Alabama is ready to crack under the sweltering pressure of suspicion as Homicide Detective Virgil Tibbs picks up the case of murder while travelling thru town in “John Ball’s In the Heat of the Night” adapted by Matt Pelfrey presented by The Sand Lake Center for the Arts 10/6-10/15.
L-R: Lee Lattimer, Will Murphy (kneeling), Todd Langley, Abbi Roy, Ed Miller, Mike Eisenstein, Aileem Penn (kneeling), Rich Cross, Joseph Bruton, Chris Foster (kneeling), Dennis Skiba, Carter Holmes, Jessica JJ Paul.

AVERILL PARK, NY (September 21,2017)- On Friday, October 6 at 8 pm, the Sand Lake Center for the Arts will present the Regional Premiere of John Ball’s In the Heat of the Night adapted by Matt Pelfrey from John Ball’s novel as the opening production in their Circle Theatre Players 2017-18 subscription season. The play will run for two weekends until October, 15 and is directed by Patrick White in his SLCA debut. Tickets are $18. for adults and $10. for those under 18.

John Ball’s In the Heat of the Night is adapted from the classic crime novel of 1965 which won Schenectady native John Ball an Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America for Best First Novel. Ball was also awarded a slice of immortality with this novel which introduced the character of Virgil Tibbs (Aileem Penn) a Californian black police detective passing through the small town during the time of intense bigotry and the civil rights movement. He is the most hated man on sight by the color of his skin but proves himself indispensable to the investigation of a murder and reveals himself to be the town’s salvation.

The book has inspired many incarnations most famously the 1967 Oscar winning film celebrating its 50th Anniversary which picked up trophies for Best Picture and Best Actor for Rod Steiger as Chief Gillespie (Chris Foster in the CTP production. There was also a long running television series (1988-1995) starring Carrol O’Connor still in syndication. Virgil Tibbs also appears in six subsequent John Ball novels-The Cool Cottontail (1966), Johnny Get Your Gun (1969), Five Pieces of Cake (1972), The Eyes of Buddha (1976), Then Came Violence (1980) and Singapore (1986).

The Circle Theatre Players production has Aileem Penn and Chris Foster heading up a cast of 14 directed by Patrick White in his Sand Lake Center for the Arts debut. The cast features 9 actors making their Sand Lake debut. It is produced by Val Kavanaugh with sets and lights by Barry Striefert, stage management by Mary Margaret Corcoran and set by Bob and Sharon Dawes. The play will be done on a practically bare stage using only a wall and 3 chairs to create 35 different scenes. Movement assistance by Cori Irwin and fight choreography by Ron Glasser. Barbara Neu did costumes and Anna Church and Karleen Hayden did props and set dressing.


“I love aggressive, challenging, uncomfortable, conflict-drenched theatre. If I don’t wince, or feel like I’m being messed around with in some spiritual way, then what’s the point?” Matt Pelfrey is the resident playwright at Furious Theatre. His plays include An Impending Rupture of the Belly, Cockroach Nation, Terminus Americana, Honkies with Attitude, Gore Hounds, Drive Angry, Jerry Springer is God, John Ball’s In the Heat of the Night and Monkey and A Feast of Famine. They have been produced in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and South Africa by such companies as the Actors Theater of Louisville (Humana Festival ’99), Furious Theatre Company, Roadworks, American Theater of Actors, (Mostly) Harmless Theater Company, Moving Arts, Hexagon Theatre and the Lodestone Theatre Ensemble. He is the recipient of the Heideman Award (National Ten-Minute Play Award) for his play Drive AngryDrive Angry was subsequently produced in the prestigious Humana Festival of New American Plays. Mr. Pelfrey recently won a Back Stage Garland Award for playwriting. He has been nominated for an American Critic’s New Play Award, LA Weekly Playwriting Award and a Los Angeles Ovation Award.



Patrick White is an actor, director and teacher in the Capital Region who has worked extensively with many of the dozens of theatre companies in the area. His directing work includes The Pope and the WitchSuddenly, Last Summer, Grand Concourseat ACT, Clever Little Lies and Living on Love at CCT, True West at TGP, The Foreigner at HMT, The Glass Menagerie with OOPs and Rapture, Blister, Burn at SCP. He will be appearing in See How They Run at CCT in December and teaches a private acting class Saturday mornings at the Albany Masonic Lodge. Email:

Photos by Adam Wilson-Hwang

Circle Theatre Players 2017-18 Season Passes Available Now!

October 6, 7, 12, 13, 14 at 8pm
October 8 and 15 at 2:30pm
December 8, 9, 14, 15, and 16 at 8pm
December 10 and 17 at 2:30pm
March 16, 17, 22, 23, 24 at 8pm
March 18 and 25 at 2:30pm
June 1, 2, 7, 8, 9 at 8pm
June 3 and 10 at 2:30pm

2017-2108 Season Passes:

Circle Theatre Players
2016-2017 Season

Thank you for a great season!

January 20, 21, 22, 26, 27, 28, 29
March 24, 25, 26, 30, 21, April 1, 2
October 7, 8, 9, 13, 14, 15, 16
June 2, 3, 4, 8, 9, 10, 11


Circle Theatre Players
2015-2016 Season

Thank you for a great season!

ProofTxt October 2, 3, 8, 9,10 at 8pm
October 4, 11 at 2:30pm
RedHotTxt December 11, 12, 17, 18, 19 at 8pm
December 13, 20 at 2:30pm
MiracleTxt March 11, 12, 17, 18, 19 at 8pm
March 13, 20 at 2:30pm
SouthPacificTxt May 13, 14, 19, 20, 21 at 8pm
May 15, 22 at 2:30pm

%d bloggers like this: