Go ahead and take a peek this weekend when the Westport Country Playhouse pulls back the curtain to reveal a glimpse of the inner workings of this more than 80-year-old institution.
As part of its second annual Block Party, visitors are welcome to shuffle along the same boards traversed by some of the great actors of the past and present centuries, take a look at the dressing rooms and get a sense of how productions come together.
"It's all self-guided, so you can do your own thing," said Elizabeth Marks Juviler, the playhouse's special events coordinator, about the event set for Saturday, April 12.
There will be games and activities for adults and children, special ticket offers and prizes. Visitors also will learn more about the 2014 season, which begins with Noel Coward's "A Song of Twilight," on Tuesday, April 29.
Marks Juviler said that she hopes it gives her and the other staff members a chance to share information about the myriad programs have been instituted in the past several years, such as preview events, young professional nights, literary salons and children's activities.
"They may not be aware of how much is going on here," she said.
She said a fun way to build that knowledge will be through that day's scavenger hunt. "Not only are you going to learn who has walked through our doors, or been on our stage ... but you are also going to learn some things you may not normally know about the theater," she said.
When visitors are not pounding the pavement, they can take a break with Beaver Beer, a Westport-based craft beer, which will be offering free tastings. Or they can find some other tasty treats, which will be available for purchase at several food trucks, including Skinny Pines Pizza, LobsterCraft and Christophe's Crepes. Shake Shack will offer complimentary custard.
Marks Juviler said there also will be a puppet-making project for children, as well as a small, temporary theater for puppet performances.
The backdrop for the entire event, of course, will be the campus itself, which first rose from a former apple orchard bought in the 1930s by theater producers Lawrence Langner and his wife, Armina Marshall, who lived in Weston. A converted cow barn became the theater, as designed by Broadway set designer Cleon Throckmorton, according to the playhouse's website. About 10 years ago, the theater and the surrounding buildings underwent a multimillion-dollar renovation.
Marks Juviler said visitors will get a chance to see how a "state-of-the-art" performing space has managed to keep all the charm of its beginnings.
She said she suspects there are many people in the community who are intrigued by the inner workings of the theater and what it takes to stage a production.
"They have yet to really step inside," she said.