Long Wharf Theatre and Hartford Stage Present THE UNDERPANTS, Now thru 11/10

Long Wharf Theatre and Hartford Stage Present THE UNDERPANTS, Now thru 11/10

Long Wharf Theatre, in association with Hartford Stage, presents The Underpants by Steve Martin, adapted from the play by Carl Sternheim, directed by Artistic Director Gordon Edelstein.

The play will take place tonight, October 16 through November 10, 2013 at The Claire Tow Stage in the C. Newton Schenck III Theatre before moving to Hartford Stage January 9 through February 9, 2014. The Long Wharf Theatre press opening is Wednesday, October 23 at 7:30 pm.

Pretty, young Louise is bored. Bored with her stuffy bureaucrat of a husband and with her small life. Dreaming of adventure and romance, she goes out to see the King on parade and an unexpected thing happens - her lacy bloomers accidentally fall to her ankles, winning her notoriety, a series of smitten suitors, and more excitement than she's had in years. Adapted by film actor and legendary comedian Steve Martin, The Underpants is a stylish and giddy farce where one learns to never underestimate the power of a glimpse of lingerie. "This is a hilarious and off-kilter comedy about desire and decorum," Edelstein said. "Everyone can relate to making fools of themselves because they were taken with someone."

The cast is George Bartenieff (Klinglehoff), Didi Conn (Gertrude), Jenny Leona (Louise), Jeff McCarthy (Theo), Burke Moses (Versati), and Steve Routman (Cohen). The creative team is comprised of Lee Savage (sets), Jess Goldstein (costumes), Robert Wierzel (lights), and David Budries (sound.) Melissa M. Spengler is the Stage Manager.

The Underpants is an adaptation of German playwright Carl Sternheim's 1911 farce called Die Hose. Martin's version of the play debuted in 2002 at the Classic Stage Company in New York. "Sternheim's play is ribald, self-referential, and quirky. I hope I have retained those elements and assured my place in heaven - I mean, served the playwright's intentions," Martin wrote in his introduction to the play.

Martin's prolific and noteworthy career began as a standup comedian and ventured into film and television, all the while maintaining an ever growing writing career. The progression, Martin claimed, was a simple one. A love of words cultivated in high school and college turned into writing comedy routines. Those sketches turned into screenplays, which further evolved into writing for the theatre.

"I remember being in New York and seeing a comic play, and I thought, "I should be able to do that. I've written screenplays and I've performed live." So I started fooling around, writing my first play, Picasso at the Lapin Agile. The play had more, let's say, thoughtful passages. And those thoughtful passages encouraged me to be able to write. For example, in Pure Drivel there are a few stories that are more thoughtful, and I have these thoughtful sentences. And those few sentences encouraged me to be able to write Shopgirl," Martin told The Believer magazine in 2005.

For more information about The Underpants or to purchase tickets, visit www.longwharf.org or call 203-787-4282.


George Bartenieff


Mr. Bartenieff has just returned from London where he starred in Another Life. As a teenager he was featured in two Broadway shows, The Whole World Over, (director, Harold Clurman) and Lillian Hellman's Montserrat. In the Sixites he became intensely involved in the experimental theater movement off-and off-off Broadway. The original 1960 New York Krapp's Last Tape and The Zoo Story, and then he played both parts back to back in the 1965 revival. He played several roles in the year and a-half run of The Brigg with the Living Theatre; another year and a-half in Andre Gregory's company in Philadelphia; the original Lincoln Center Company (Kazan, Whitehead); and a dozen plays with Joe Papp's New York Shakespeare Festival Public Theater. All the while, he worked at Judson's Poets Theater and La Mama, sometimes in two plays at the same time. He founded Theater for the New City in 1970 and was co-artistic director; then founded Theater Three Collaborative, 1995, which will co-produce a new eco-drama Extreme Whether by artistic partner Karen Malpede, spring 2014. Recent Broadway: Merchant of Venice, Fiddler on the Roof; off-Broadway,American Dream and Sandbox, Prophecy, I Will Bear Witness (two one-man shows that also toured Europe). Films include: Julia and Julie, The Dictator.TV: "Curb Your Enthusiasm," "30 Rock," "Law & Order." He is the recipient of four Obies, two for acting, two for producing, a Drama Desk and a Philly award for best actor 2005-'06 season.

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