PTC Presents LAUGHING STOCK by Charles Morey, 3/23-4/7
Originally produced by PTC in 2001, Morey's script has since been produced close to a hundred times around the country, and published by Dramatists Play Service. It is Morey's hilarious and affectionate love letter to the world of theatre, based on his experiences with the Peterborough Players years ago. In Laughing Stock, a rustic New England summer theatre called "The Playhouse" schedules a repertory season of Dracula, Hamlet and Charley's Aunt. With little in the way of time or resources, the well-intentioned company soon finds itself overmatched, and comic mayhem ensues.
When it premiered at PTC, The Salt Lake Tribune said, "There's a priceless scene in Laughing Stock in which a summer stock production of Dracula disintegrates into chaos on opening night. Gothic horror becomes high comedy amid misplaced technical cues, forgotten lines, wrong entrances and eccentric acting…the large audience howled with glee as they watched the mayhem unfold…written with a light and sure hand, and acted with a precise blend of earnestness and camp."
About subsequent productions throughout the country, critics have said, "[Laughing Stock is] hysterically funny...and along the way to its sweet finale you can fall in love with theatre all over again," (The Sarasota Herald-Tribune). The Nashua Telegraph said of the comedy, "I cried, I choked, I fell into a coughing fit, I cried some more...can't help but love this play." The Monadnock Ledger said, "Laughing Stock will indeed have you laughing in your seat if not rolling in the aisles…It's hard to imagine anyone whose funny bone wouldn't be tickled by this one…You don't have to be a theatre insider to love the play…it's a hoot…it's a blast…it's funny, it's silly, it tells a great story." And the Keene Sentinel said, "Scene after scene, beat after beat, Laughing Stock piles on the laughs…every single piece crackles with successful wit and abundant humor."
CHARLES MOREY, in his last season as Artistic Director of Pioneer Theatre Company, directs the production. Morey comments about his play, "They say 'write what you know.' After forty-two years in the professional theatre, and twenty-five summers doing "summer stock," I know this world.Laughing Stock is (I hope) a very funny and occasionally sentimental look at the profession in which I have spent my life. Everyone in the theatre has his or her own "Playhouse," the place where there was never enough of anything: time, staff, money, and sometimes simply not enough talent or skill; where sometimes the doors fell off their hinges, the sound cues ran backwards, and the character man forgot his lines; but where you gave yourself over wholly to the making of plays, to telling stories in the dark on a summer night and along the way made a little family as well for a few months. It is those places, and especially those people, this play celebrates. I hope what finally comes through Laughing Stock is a genuine affection and respect for the mostly honorable and sometimes inspired fools who inhabit this profession." Morey has directed over eighty productions for PTC since he joined the theatre in 1984, including the world premieres of Find and Sign, Touch(ed) and In, and the first regional productions of Les Misérables, The Producers, andThe Vertical Hour. He is a Fellow of the MacDowell Colony.
Jack Koenig plays GorDon Page, the overly ambitious and always harried Artistic Director at "The Playhouse." On Broadway, Koenig has worked as stand-by for Scar in The Lion King, and inThe Pitmen Painters and Accent on Youth. He has appeared off-Broadway in Incident at Vichy,The Cocktail Party, The Grand Manner and Tabletop, for which he received a Drama Desk Award.Regional credits include Race, Private Lives, Heartbreak House and the world premiere Clementine in the Lower 9 at TheatreWorks in California. He last appeared with PTC in A Christmas Story.
Craig Bockhorn plays "The Playhouse's" penny-pinching "Producing Executive Administrative Director," Craig Conlin. Bockhorn's Broadway credits include: On Golden Pond (also the Kennedy Center and National Tour), The Lonesome West and Prelude to a Kiss. Other New York credits include: King Lear, The Seagull, Kit Marlowe (Public Theatre), The Hope Zone and The Truth-Teller(Circle Rep.) He returns to PTC after appearing here in many shows, most recently Our Town, A Midsummer Night's Dream and Julius Caesar.
Cheryl Gaysunas plays "The Playhouse's" Stage Manager, Sarah McKay. On Broadway, Gaysunas appeared in La Bete, The Moliere Comedies, and as Mabel in An Ideal Husband, directed by Sir Peter Hall. Her other PTC credits include Is He Dead? Noises Off, Communicating Doors, Pride and Prejudice and The Ladies Man.
Joyce Cohen plays the sweet but slightly eccentric Daisy Coates, a long time company member of "The Playhouse." Cohen has appeared on Broadway in Once a Catholic and off-Broadway with the Mint Theater Co. and Playwrights Horizons. Her regional credits include People's Light & Theatre Co., Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Peterborough Players, Utah Shakespeare Festival, Plan-B Theatre and Salt Lake Acting Company. She returns to the PTC stage after numerous appearances, including Black Comedy, Hamlet, Our Town, Arcadia, Othello and A Streetcar Named Desire, to name a few.
David Christopher WELLS plays "The Playhouse's" self-absorbed leading man, Tyler Taylor. Wells' Broadway credits include The Coast of Utopia and The Rivals both for Lincoln Center Theater. Regionally, he has appeared at Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Seattle Rep, Geva Theatre Center, Nebraska Shakespeare Festival, Stonington Opera House and others. This is his PTC debut.
Cary Donaldson plays Jack Morris, the talented young actor new to "The Playhouse." He appeared on Broadway in Mrs. Warren's Profession and off-Broadway in The Merchant of Venice,The Winter's Tale and Timon of Athens. His regional credits include Three Sisters, The Front Page,The Physicists, The Lover, Thursday, Cyrano de Bergerac, Coriolanus and Amadeus. This is his PTC debut.
Lesley Shires plays Mary Pierre, "The Playhouse's" new ingénue. Shires' New York stage credits include the world premiere of Henry Box Brown by Tony Kushner and a developmental production of Acquainted with the Night by Keith Reddin. Regional credits include Gruesome Playground Injuries (Boise Contemporary Theater), The Little Prince, Crimes of the Heart, Amadeusand Romeo and Juliet (PlayMakers Repertory), One Slight Hitch by Lewis Black (PATP), Cats (The Hangar), La Cage aux Folles (North Carolina Theatre). This is her PTC debut.
Kymberly Mellen plays the eccentric guest director, Susannah Huntsmen. Mellen's credits include productions at Writers' Theatre, Marriott Lincolnshire Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre and Steppenwolf Theatre. She has also been seen at the Utah Shakespeare Festival in A Midsummer Night's Dream, Richard III, Much Ado About Nothing and Macbeth. Her film credits include The Unborn, Boy with Blue and Joseph: Prophet of the Restoration. She received her BFA from BYU and her MFA from The Theatre School at DePaul University. She recently appeared at PTC in Emma.
Anderson Matthews plays the forgetful Richfield Hawksley. Matthews' Broadway credits include Pater Ustinov's Beethoven's 10th and The Robber Bridegroom. His other New York credits include Driving Miss Daisy, Ten By Tennessee, and Arcadia at Lincoln Center. He most recently appeared at PTC as the Stage Manager in Our Town. Other PTC shows include The Three Musketeers, As You Like It, You Can't Take It With You and Noises Off.
Jeff Steitzer plays the jaded veteran actor Vernon Volker. Steitzer has appeared on Broadway in Mary Poppins, and in Inherit the Wind with Christopher Plummer and Brian Dennehy; in the filmsGeorgia, Delivered, The Beaver and The Beans of Egypt Maine; on TV in The Fugitive, 30 Rockand Law & Order; and at regional theatres across the country. For the last ten years he has been the Multiplayer Voice of God in HALO for Microsoft's XBox. He returns to PTC after directing last season's Black Comedy.
Paul Kiernan plays the over extended Scenic, Costume and Lighting Designer, Henry Mills. Kiernan has appeared at PTC in many productions including as Caliban in The Tempest, The Diary of Anne Frank, Hamlet and Twelve Angry Men, to name a few. He has also appeared at Salt Lake Acting Company and with Salt Lake Shakespeare, Pennsylvania Shakespeare, The Hangar Theatre in Ithaca, and many others. His TV and film credits include Disney's Luck of the Irish, The Maldonado Miracle, Ice Spiders and the HBO series From the Earth to the Moon.
Scenic design is by guest artist Peter HarrisON. Harrison is a nominee of the American Theatre Wing Design and Barrymore Awards. His recent credits include Horton Foote's The Roads to Home off-Broadway with Jean Stapleton. In opera, he has served as resident designer for the Cleveland Orchestra Blossom Opera and has designed for New York City Opera, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, American Music Theatre Festival, Juilliard Opera and Chicago Opera Theater.
K.L. ALBERTS designs costumes for this production. Alberts' previous designs at PTC includeWhite Christmas, 42nd Street, Miss Saigon, The Producers and Les Misérables, among many others. Alberts has also designed for the University of Utah's Babcock Theatre, Salt Lake Acting Company, Meat & Potato Theatre Company, and Ah! Wilderness, Hay Fever, The Matchmaker,Fiddler on the Roof and Great Expectations: A New Musical for the Utah Shakespeare Festival.
Lighting design is by guest designer KARL HAAS, who previously designed Miss Saigon, The Producers, Les Misérables, West Side Story and South Pacific among many others at PTC. His New York design credits include productions at Playwrights Horizons, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Brooklyn Academy Of Music, and Julliard. Haas has been Lighting Supervisor/Designer for the Bolshoi Ballet/Opera, the Kirov Ballet, the Spanish National Ballet, and the Joffrey Ballet. Haas is currently the ArchitecturAl Western Regional Manager for Electronic Theatre Controls (ETC).
Hair and makeup design is by PTC resident designer AMANDA FRENCH. Sound design is by PTC resident designer MATTHEW TIBBS.
Pioneer Theatre Company operates under an agreement between the League of Resident Theatres (LORT) and Actors' Equity Association, the Union of professional actors and stage managers in the United States. Pioneer Theatre Company, Utah's only fully professional theatre, performs at Roy W. and Elizabeth E. Simmons Pioneer Memorial Theatre, located on the University of Utah campus at 300 South and 1400 East in Salt Lake City, easily accessible by TRAX light rail. Free parking is also available and the theatre is equipped with an elevator, handicap parking, hearing assistance devices and other easy-access features.