Tom Stoppard's ON THE RAZZLE Opens at Newnan Theatre Tonight
"On the razzle" is a British expression meaning a night on the town involving alcohol consumption and raucous fun. NTC's production of "On the Razzle," by Tom Stoppard, opens on the Newnan Theatre Company Main Stage tonight, May 9. Audiences won't need adult beverages to have a rollicking good time.
"There are so many jokes that each audience member should buy two tickets and come twice to be able to catch everything," said Director Justin Jessell. "The setting is Victorianish - but it's supposed to feel more like a live-action cartoon than a real period piece."
Herr Zangler (Jeff Allen) is the owner of a fancy grocery store in a small Austrian village. His two shop assistants, Weinberl (Daniel Lees) and Christopher (Josh Hendricks), are left to mind the store while Zangler goes off to Vienna to marry Mme. Knorr(Kristi Rapson) and begin a new life in the big city. His hard-working assistants suddenly realize that they are taking on heavy responsibilities without ever having had much fun. So, with the master away, they decide to go "on the razzle" in Vienna themselves.
Romantic complications are provided by Zangler's neice Marie and her penniless amour Sonders (played by Laura and William Pratesi). Zangler opposes their marriage, so they elope to Vienna. There they become entangled in the web of deception that Weinberl and Chrisopher weave to keep Zangler from discovering their escapade. After much confusion and hilarity, "all's well that ends well," and everyone lives happily ever after.
Other players include Drew Turner as Melchior, Melanie Carrin as Ms Blumenblatt, and Keilly as Hildegarde Fisher. Jason Schmidt, Stuart Grable, Samantha Teague, Casey Bunce and Elizabeth Murphy are playing multiple roles.
Though a relative newcomer to NTC, Jessell has played major roles in "The Eight: Reindeer Monologues," "Epic Proportions," and "Seussical." "On the Razzle" will be his first directing experience at NTC. While studying theater at Anderson University, he directed "American Buffalo," by David Mamet, as well as a few one-act plays and parts of Stoppard's "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead." Jessell is also a member of NTC's hugely popular N.I.T.W.I.T.S. and also an instructor for Half-W.I.T.S., NTC's improv education program for middle and high school students.
"This is my first full performance that is for money from beginning to end. So that's very cool. I'm hoping it will lead to more," said Jessell.
Daniel Lees and Josh Hendricks feel as though they are Weinberl and Christopher in real life. Weinberl speaks before he thinks, and then his friend Christopher gets him out of trouble by hurriedly adding "But you meant this..."
"Like Weinberl, I'm always saying the wrong thing, and Josh is always correcting me," said Lees. "It's almost as though we were type cast!"
Josh Hendricks was drawn to the theater through his friendship with Lees. His role in "On the Razzle" is his first acting experience at NTC. He has a bachelor's degree in biology, but "I'm not sure what I want to do right now. So I'm pursuing other things: writing a book, acting. I can identify with Christopher," he said.
Theater history buffs will be interested to know that "On the Razzle" is a sort of cousin to Jerry Herman's musical "Hello Dolly." Though "On the Razzle" is not a musical and does not have the character Dolly Levi, the plays are two of several adaptations of the original Viennese play Einen Jux will er sich machen, by Johann Nestroy" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johann_Nestroy">Johann Nestroy.