PICASSO AT THE LAPIN AGILE Comes to MCCC's Kelsey Theatre, Now thru 5/3

What happens when a genius meets a genius at a bar? The Pennington Players are ready to answer that question as they present "Picasso at the Lapin Agile," written by Steve Martin, the iconic comedian/actor/screenwriter/banjo-aficionado. Dates and show times for this delightful comedy are: Fridays, April 24 and May 1 at 8 p.m.; Saturdays, April 25 and May 2 at 8 p.m.; and Sundays, April 26 and May 3 at 2 p.m. Kelsey Theatre is located on MCCC's West Windsor campus, 1200 Old Trenton Road.

An opening night reception with the cast and crew follows the performance on April 24. There will be a "Talk Back" session after the performance on May 1.

In his delightfully witty trademark style, Martin places Pablo Picasso and Albert Einstein together in Au Lapin Agile, a Parisian bar. It's 1904 and both men are in their early twenties and on the verge of their greatest achievements: For Einstein, it's the publication of the Special Theory of Relativity just one year later, and for Picasso, it's the creation of his cubist masterpiece 'Les Demoiselles D'Avignon' three years later. What ensures is a lively and lengthy debate about the nature of genius and talent interspersed with entertaining banter with a host of colorful characters, including an amusing barfly (Gaston), a gullible yet lovable bartender (Freddy), a wise waitress (Germaine), and a few other surprise characters who flounce in and out of the Lapin Agile.

Audience members will be in on the impending shenanigans from the opening moments when they are informed that the play will make several detours into the land of silliness. The fourth wall (the imaginary wall between the stage and audience) is broken and there are noticeable cracks in the time-space continuum.

Leading the cast as Pablo Picasso is Frank Falisi of Freehold, who has performed in theaters across Central New Jersey, and who is making his Pennington Players and Kelsey Theatre debut. Michael Gilch of Princeton is Albert Einstein in his first acting appearance at Kelsey. Gilch is best known at Kelsey and around the region as an accomplished pianist and musical director. Completing the cast are Matthew Cassidy of Morrisville, Pa., as Freddy; David Christoffersen of Lawrenceville as Gaston; Nicole Farina-Machin of Columbus as Germaine; Sean Downing of Lumberton as Sagot; Sarah Stryker of Lawrenceville playing the roles of Suzanne, the Countess and an Admirer; Justin Derry of Langhorne, Pa., as Schmendiman; and Kevin Palardy of Doylestown, Pa., as the Visitor.

The show is produced by Judi Parrish and directed by Peter Bisgaier. The production staff also includes stage manager Vicki Kaiser, set designer Bryan Schendlinger, lighting designer M. Kitty Getlik, and costume designer Michelle Rittmann. Properties are by Dottie Farina.

Tickets are $18 for adults, $16 for seniors, and $14 for students and children. Tickets are available online at www.kelseytheatre.net or by calling the Kelsey Theatre Box Office at 609-570-3333. Kelsey Theatre is wheelchair accessible, with free parking available next to the theater.

Pictured: Two geniuses meet in a bar: Michael Gilch, left, is Einstein and Frank Falisi is Picasso in "Picasso at the Lapin Agile," to be presented by The Pennington Players April 24 to May 3 at MCCC's Kelsey Theatre.

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