Bell, Book and Candle

John van Druten
Bell, Book and Candle
Benton Jennings, Will Bradley, Mary Jo Catlett,
Willow Geer, and Michael A. Newcomer (in back)

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Richard Israel
Stephen Gifford
Sharon McGunigle
Luke Moyer
Cricket S. Myers
Leesa Freed
David Elzer/Demand PR
Robert T. Kyle
Red Colgrove
Lacey Anzelc
Joni Rudesill
A.C. Bradshaw, Christopher Rivera
Moe Zarif
Kathryn Horan
Heather L. Waters
Andrea Dean, Brie Quinn Renta
Madison Bradfield-Davis
Ricky Vodka
Michael Lamont

(in order of appearance)

Gillian Holroyd
Shepherd Henderson
Aunt Queenie
Nicky Holroyd
Sidney Redlitch

Willow Geer
Michael A. Newcomer
Mary Jo Catlett
Will Bradley
Benton Jennings


Gillian Holroyd's apartment in the Murray Hill district of New York City in 1953


Scene 1: Christmas Eve
Scene 2: About three hours later

Scene1: Two weeks Later
Scene 2: Four hours later
Scene 3: Two months later

Notes from the Director

At first glance, Bell, Book and Candle is a lightweight romantic comedy in which love triumphs and all ends happily. And while parallels with Bewitched are unavoidable, John van Druten had more up his sleeve (and in his heart) than just a frothy romp. Ultimately, Bell, Book and Candle is a celebration of being human, in all its messiness and disarray. Van Druten wrote the play in 1950, a time in America when conformity was cherished and “otherness” was considered a dangerous prospect. Into this environment, he places Gillian, a woman who embodies the spirit of otherness. As a witch, Gillian has complete power over her own world, and can craft it to her specifications. However, the one element she can’t control is that sense of otherness, and it is her need to join the outside world that gives life to the play.

For Gillian, this idea of loving another person, of truly being in the world, is not a foregone conclusion, and that is the beauty of her journey. She is confronted with a choice – she can
continue living in her safe world of total control and order or she can join the world of humanity, in all its uncontrolled chaos. Van Druten has set a few ground rules about witchcraft – witches can’t blush, witches can’t cry, witches can’t feel pain, and witches can’t love. These are all attributes of being human; in some ways, they are the flip side of the same coin. We can’t have love without pain. We can’t invest in the world without sometimes blushing and shedding tears. Is this a world Gillian wants to join? And by extension, is this a world that we want to join? At the heart of Bell, Book and Candle is a question: Do we want to be in the world, wholly and completely and without reservation, or do we want to live in a protected world of separateness? If we want to be a member of the human race, we need to embrace the messiness of other people. There will be tears, and there will be shame, and there will be pain. But without loving and being loved, who are we?

– Richard Israel

Originally “Bell, Book and Candle” was a rather more serious play. I asked myself what constitutes witchcraft, and I felt the answer lies in the fact that witches primarily seem to exist for their own self-gratification.... (However) one has to stop living in terms of ‘self’ if aspects of love are ever to be realized.

– Playwright John van Druten in an interview with Theatre Arts Magazine in 1952.


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