First Night by Jack Neary

A collaboration with The Actors Studio of Newburyport

Returning to the virtual world, just in time to bring good cheer to the new year! Enjoy this performance recorded with a LIVE audience using SEVEN high definition cameras at the Firehouse Center for the Arts just one year ago.

It’s New Year’s Eve, 1985. Danny Fleming, mid-thirties, is about to close up his neighborhood video store for the evening when into the store pops a woman he believes he remembers from his grammar school days. What he remembers most is that this woman went away to be a nun. Why is she there? Why does he care? What does she want to rent?  As the story unfolds, we find out the answers to these and many other questions. The production features the stellar performances of John Manning and Jocelyn Duford, who have brought these delightful characters to the Actors Studio Theatre in Newburyport, the Larcom Theatre in Beverly, the Hatbox Theatre in Concord, NH, the Merrimack Repertory Theatre in Lowell, and the performance you will enjoy recorded at the Firehouse Center for the Arts in December 2019.

The Los Angeles Times called FIRST NIGHT “A delight!,”  the New York Post told its readers “You can’t help cheering!” and the Boston Globe said of the play that it’s “A lovely riff of magic…touch it for yourself.” A special New Year’s treat, guaranteed to trigger many laughs and warm hearts.

You must CLICK ON THE DATE you wish to attend to purchase tickets.

BUY TICKETS FOR December 30th 8pm EST

BUY TICKETS FOR December 31st 8pm EST

BUY TICKETS FOR December 31st 10pm EST

NOTE: The Dec. 31st at 10pm performance will end at 11:45pm, in time to ring in the new year on the East Coast!

Cast and Crew

JOHN MANNING (Danny Fleming) is thrilled to be back with Acting Out Productions where he previously played Victor in THE GATHERING and Ichabod Crane in THE LEGEND OF SLEEPY HOLLOW. Some credits include: Flip Whitham in the upcoming film PARALLEL AMERICA, directed by Oscar-winning writer Ernest Thompson, Gander in CHARLOTTE’S WEB at the Wheelock Family Theater, and Henry Higgins in MY FAIR, LADY at Stage 284. 

JOCELYN DUFORD (Meredith O’Connor) holds a B.A. in Theatre from Dartmouth College with a focus on acting and sound design. Recent credits include Georgia in GEORGIA O’KEEFE PAINTS PARADISE and Nancy in KINDNESS AND CRUELTY: WILLA CATHER IN JAFFREY. Favorite past roles include the title role in MARY POPPINS and Kate Monster in AVENUE Q. Jocelyn’s website is

JACK NEARY (Playwright/Director) has written a number of original family plays for Acting Out, including FINAL CURTAIN and his adaptation of THE LEGEND OF SLEEPY HOLLOW. His most recent play for adult audiences, TRICK OR TREAT, opened Off-Broadway on January 12, 2019, and starred NYPD BLUE Emmy-winner Gordon Clapp. Jack’s website is

Technical Director: John Budzyna

Set Design & Construction: Kirk Trach

Videographer/Editor: Alan McRae

Special Thanks

Alan McRae, Deirdre Budzyna, Marc Clopton and the Actors Studio of Newburyport, The Larcom Theatre and Punctuate4 Productions, Nancy Donahue, Merrimack Repertory Theatre, Nancye Tuttle, Kelly & Jeff Gray, Jeanne Geiger Crisis Center, John Moynihan and The Firehouse Center for the Arts and Hatbox Theatre.

First Night is presented by arrangement with Concord Theatricals on behalf of Samuel French, Inc.