The author of It Runs in the Family, Ray Cooney, has been referred to as the British Neil Simon. Cooney also acts, produces, and directs in London’s West End. He is famous for his fast-paced farces filled with plenty of slapstick action like the Playhouse’s season opener, Cooney’s own It Runs in the Family.
A distressed guest at a Georgia lodge pretends to not know a lick of English in a farce by Larry Shue that premiered Off Broadway in the mid-1980s. Charlie becomes “The Foreigner,” the titular character of a play about what people will say when they don’t think anyone is listening — or can, at least, understand them.
Michael Pederson as Froggy LeSueur and Cory Anderson as Charlie Baker in the Duluth Playhouse production of ‘The Foreigner,’ a comedic farce by Larry Shue.
Like, for instance: an heiress in turmoil, a dark preacher, a maternal lodge-keeper, a would-be heir and a cruel property inspector with an eye on the property.
Normally it would be the absolute kiss of death for a review to declare the audience is funnier than the cast, but that is actually one of the chief selling points of “Game Show,” the interactive theater piece directed by Lawrence Lee that opened at the Underground on Thursday night.
Each year in the last edition of The Wave we publish a list of memorable moments from what area audiences saw on stage during the year. But I can tell you right here and now that the production of Vanya & Sonia & Masha & Spike directed by Julie Ahasay that opened at the Duluth Playhouse on Thursday night is making that list and it is making it at least twice, because Christopher Durang’s Tony Award winning play provides not one but two absolute tour de force scenes well worth seeing.
L to R: Spike (Matthew Smith), Masha (Carrie Mohn), Cassandra (Kate Horvath), and Vanya (John Pokrzywinksi)
The Underground is proud to present the classic duo Gilbert & Sullivan this Thursday night. What can we tell you about this gem of a show? It’s an operetta. It’s all takes place under an hour. It’s really, really funny! It’s directed by Jeffrey Madison (his directorial debut). The voice in this show are incredible! Need we go on?
While we could keep giving you reason after reason why you should come check out this little gem of a show, we’ll give you a quick understanding of the show…and then let you click over to the Underground’s website to get your tickets now.
Well, The Odd Couple opens on Thursday and we couldn’t be more excited to share this particular production with you! If you haven’t already heard, our actors are tackling the monumental task of reversing roles every-other performance. One night Jody and Jason will play Oscar and Felix, and the next night they’ll switch and play Felix and Oscar. Crazy, right? Crazy, but awesome. We briefly spoke with director Julie Ahasay and actors Jody Kujawa and Jason Scorich for some insider details of why they decided to do this and how the rehearsal process took shape. Enjoy!
PH: Julie, tell us about how you came to the decision to tackle the role reversal with The Odd Couple.
JULIE: When I was first working with the script I thought about how many people have both a Felix and an Oscar within them—a fastidious bundle of nerves and a relaxed slob. And that made me start thinking about how interesting it would be to see two actors find both those characters within themselves. I proposed the idea to Christine last summer when I ran into her at a coffee shop and she immediately embraced the idea. Then it was a matter of seeing if two actors capable of and interested in doing this switch would show up for auditions and demonstrate they could do this very challenging and tricky work.