Bergen County Players to Present Larry Gelbart's BETTER LATE, Beginning 3/23

Bergen County Players to Present Larry Gelbart's BETTER LATE, Beginning 3/23

The Bergen County Players (BCP) in Oradell continues to celebrate its 80th season with a production of "Better Late," a comedy by Larry Gelbart and directed by Jerry Pettinati of Fair Lawn. Gelbart's final play will make its debut in New Jersey at the Little Firehouse Theatre on Kinderkamack Road in Oradell from March 23 to April 20. Shows will be on Friday and Saturday nights at 8pm and Sundays at 2pm. Tickets can be purchased online at, by calling 201-261-4200 or by visiting the box office at 298 Kinderkamack Road, Oradell during regular box office hours.

The gift of provoking laughter came early to Larry Gelbart and it never deserted him. His distinguished career as a writer of comedy reads like a history of the art over the last four decades. His writing credits date back to the Golden Age of radio. "Larry Gelbart was among the very best comedy writers ever produced in America," said Mel Brooks, whose friendship with Gelbart dated to when they both wrote for Sid Caesar's comedy-variety show "Caesar's Hour" in the 1950s. His other credits include the TV comedy "M*A*S*H" (the show ran for 11 seasons and picked up countless awards, including the Best Comedy Series Emmy for its debut season), the musical "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum," and the film "Tootsie" which earned Gelbart an Academy Award nomination and best screenplay honors from the New York, Los Angeles and National Film Critics organization.

Director Jerry Pettinati (Fair Lawn), a Life member of BCP, has acted in many shows and has directed even more including, "Plaza Suite," "Side Man," "The Diary of Anne Frank" and "The Gingerbread Lady."

Called a "bitingly funny December-December-December romance" (, "Better Late" features first husband Julian, played by Jim Lesko (Englewood), who is forced to move in with his ex-wife Nora, played by Cheryl Woertz (Alpine) and her second husband Lee, played by Bill Porterfield (Ridgewood), in order to recuperate from a sudden illness. With each passing day, the awkward situation spirals further and further out of control. As the laughter builds, the question becomes: how long will Julian have to stay? Bill, played by James Parent (Dumont), is the son from the first marriage who is bewildered by the situation while also concerned over his failing marriage.

The production team includes Rhea Smith, producer (Oradell); Michael Smith, set design and construction (Oradell); Kathleen Ruland, assistant director (Lodi); Marissa Dolkart, stage manager (Dumont); Val and James Dolan décor (Ramsey); Ray Poquette lighting design (Westwood); Ruth Morley, costumes (Ridgewood); and Joe Halajian sound design (Teaneck).

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