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BWW Feature: ZELLER AND SQUIRES at The Legacy Theatre

Great performances by husband and wife team combined with writing by Susan Cinoman and Frederick Stoppel.

BWW Feature: ZELLER AND SQUIRES at The Legacy Theatre

Welcome back to the world of legendary comedy duos. Stiller and Meara, Joseph Bologna and Renee Taylor, Eli Wallach and Anne Jackson, Charlie Brill and Mitzi McCall, Michael Key and Jordan Peele, and Connecticut's own Zeller and Squires.

The husband and wife acting team are bringing their third iteration of Zeller and Squires: An Evening of One Act Plays to The Legacy Theatre for three nights, from May 19 to May 21. Allan Zeller and Kimberly Squires, both veteran members of AEA and SAG-AFTRA, have been working together and independently for years. They created this original show with the help of six to seven playwrights and have adapted it over the years. This version is just an hour and 15 minutes, performed with no intermission. They are using the material of award-winning playwrights and screenwriters Susan Cinoman (The Goldbergs, Guinevere) and Frederick Stoppel (Small World, Tales From the Manhattan Woods) to make this production tighter and shorter than the previous ones. This time, they will also do the costume changes in front of the audiences.

Squires and Zeller are used to taking the bull by the horns to survive in the competitive field of entertainment. Squires was in a play at the Long Wharf Theatre, which moved to Off-Broadway. Unfortunately, her part was cut. When she found it was being produced in Los Angeles, she called the director and asked to audition. She didn't get her original part, but the lead. She would perform opposite Zeller, whom she had never met before. At the table reading, she groaned inwardly, "This is like oil and water. We're not mixing at all." It turns out that they have fantastic chemistry. They've been married since 1997. Squires observes that because they're married to each other, they "bring a lot more weight and experience [to this show] because of [their] everyday life.

Even before many theatre companies reduced the size of their productions due to the pandemic, Zeller and Squires was and remains adaptable for almost any venue. Their long-term plans for the show are to take it on tour and change it up a little bit each time. Right now, they're seeking more venues on the East Coast and using "pocketful of pieces they can cull from and put together," says Squires. If they get enough pieces, they can customize it for holidays, education, whatever the need is. Zeller adds, "It's like Broadway -- trying it out of town, figuring out what really is the best for the audience, what they enjoy the most." Squires adds that revisiting the material is vital because it may be "topical in the moment, in real time," but when you "reach back to certain pieces, some things become dated."

The beauty of Zeller and Squires is that its appeal is universal. People of all ages and backgrounds can relate to the characters in the show. Every piece has something between two people, not just a married couple, but a doctor and patient or two people who know each other in town. In one of the vignettes they've done, a couple are at a mall during the holidays. The wife needs to buy a gift for the son of a friend. The husband is grumpy, in pain, and itchy to get home to watch a football game. In another, a couple are watching a football. It's she who is overly excited about the game, not the man. As Zeller notes, in both comedy and drama, there's conflict. But their shows have a lot of depth and encompass the variety of emotions that people face.

Zeller and Squires is an adult play with adult level entertainment, notes Zeller. He admits that live entertainment is "competing with streaming," and they need to get back the audiences that have planted themselves in front of their smart TVs. "We want them to come out and have a good time...an easy peasy night" of dinner and a show.

See Zeller and Squires at The Legacy Theatre, 128 Thimble Islands Road in Stony Creek. The show runs

Thursday, May 19 at 7:00 p.m., Friday, May 20 at 8:00 p.m., and Saturday, May 21 at 8:00 p.m. Tickets are $25. Call (203) 315-1901 or visit www.legacytheatrect.org/2022-new-works-series.



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