Florida Rep's Season Continues With Noel Coward's Farce HAY FEVER!

Florida Rep's Season Continues With Noel Coward's Farce HAY FEVER!

Florida Repertory Theatre is pleased to announce the opening of "Hay Fever" by Noël Coward, a witty and hilarious comedy of bad manners. Playing February 15 to March 6 the run includes four nearly sold-out discounted previews February 12-14 in the Historic Arcade Theatre.

Set against the backdrop of the glamorous 1920s, this classic farce is Coward at his finest: razor-sharp and as dry as a martini. The Bohemian Bliss family is gathered for a relaxing weekend in the English countryside and unbeknownst to the others, each of them has invited a guest. What was supposed to be a weekend of leisure spirals into mayhem as the family's eccentricities prove too much for their unsuspecting visitors.

"This is one of the great English comedies," said Florida Rep Artistic Director, Greg Longenhagen, "and audiences are in for a treat with a top-notch cast and expert creative team. No playwright is as good as Coward when it comes to capturing the foibles of the English upper classes, and the result is crisp writing, delightful characters, and comedy that stands the test of time. 'Hay Fever' is as funny today as it was when Coward wrote it 90 years ago. This comedy is the play to see if you are looking for laughs."

Regional Theatre and Broadway veterans, Kate Levy and Matt Sullivan make their Florida Rep debuts to lead the cast as the eccentric stage actress, Judith Bliss, and her egotistical writer husband, David Bliss. Levy was seen most recently on Broadway in "Bernhardt/Hamlet," and Sullivan's recent regional credits include the Guthrie Theatre, Minetta Lane, and Baltimore Center Stage. Also making their Florida Rep debuts are New-York actors, Jake Murphy and Olivia Stevenson as Simon and Sorel, the equally eccentric and self-centered Bliss children. Murphy was recently seen off-Broadway at the Potomac Theatre Company, and Stevenson worked recently with Greenbrier Valley Theatre and Shakespeare's Globe.

Florida Rep ensemble members Rachel Burttram and Brendan Powers are joined by frequent guest artist, Seth Andrew Bridges and current acting intern company member, Sydney Torres as the Bliss' unsuspecting guests. Burttram appeared most recently in Florida Rep's "Steel Magnolias," and both Powers and Torres were seen in the company's adaptation of "A Christmas Carol: The Tale of Ebenezer Scrooge" earlier this season. Bridges returns to Florida Rep after appearing in the 2016 regional premiere of "The Dingdong," as well as extensive work at Alabama Shakespeare and Syracuse Stage. Also returning to Florida Rep's stage is British stage and screen actress, Lesley Staples as the Bliss' long-suffering maid. Staples, who now calls Southwest Florida home, last appeared at Florida Rep in "Enchanted April" in 2007.

Mark Shanahan returns to direct "Hay Fever" this season after his work as director and playwright on "A Christmas Carol: The Tale of Ebenezer Scrooge" and directing previous Florida Rep hits "How the Other Half Loves," "Around the World in 80 Days" and "Hound of the Baskervilles." Shanahan leads a creative team, including set designer Dennis Maulden ("The Mousetrap"), costume designer Jacquelyn Loy ("Becoming Dr. Ruth"), lighting designer David M. Upton ("Over the River and Through the Woods", sound designer Katie Lowe ("Damascus"), and ensemble stage manager Janine Wochna ("A Christmas Carol").

"Hay Fever" by Noël Coward is generously sponsored by "Naomi Bloom & Ron Wallace, FineMark National Bank & Trust, and Dr. Klucka Allergy & Asthma.

"Hay Fever" continues a 9-show season that showcases Florida Rep's signature ensemble of artists in a variety of roles and projects and introduces a record number of Broadway and regional theatre veterans making their Florida Rep debuts.

Florida Rep's third decade of nationally-recognized, professional theatre in the Fort Myers River District also includes August Wilson's "Fences" (playing to Jan. 30), "Tenderly: The Rosemary Clooney Musical" (playing to Feb. 24), and Broadway's rock 'n' roll sensation, "Million Dollar Quartet" (Mar. 19-Apr. 10) and one of the most produced new comedies of the last year, "Native Gardens" by Karen Zacarías (Apr. 5-May 5).

Tickets are available online at www.FloridaRep.org and through the box office at 239-332-4488. Tickets are at $55 and $49 for regular performances, and $35 and $29 for previews. Subscriptions start as low as $99 for three plays and offer the best seats and the most significant savings, and are available through the box office. Box office hours are Monday through Saturday 10 AM - 5 PM. New this season, Florida Rep's parking lot opens 2 hours before each performance and offers guests limited free parking across the street from the Arcade Theatre.

Florida Repertory Theatre performs in the Historic Arcade Theatre and the ArtStage Studio Theatre on Bay St. between Jackson & Hendry with limited free parking in the Fort Myers River District. Visit Florida Rep online at FloridaRep.org, and by following the company on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

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