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Venice Theatre Opens 70th MainStage Season With BORN YESTERDAY


Venice Theatre Opens 70th MainStage Season With BORN YESTERDAY

Born Yesterday opens Venice Theatre's 70th MainStage Season on Friday, Sept. 20, 2019. It will keep audiences laughing through Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019. Performances are Tuesdays through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Tickets begin at $27 for adults, $17 for college students, and $15 for youth through 12th grade. They are available online at or by calling the box office at 941.488.1115.

Born Yesterday premiered on Broadway in 1946 and was a big screen hit in 1950. Decades later this hilarious story - about a millionaire and his trophy girlfriend's designs on Washington - feels as relevant as ever. Allan Kollar, Venice Theatre's Artistic Director, directs the show for the second time in his career. He last directed it in Venice in 1998 and says, "This is one of my favorite comedies. It stands the test of time. When we decided to kick off our 70th Season with Born Yesterday, I knew I had to direct it again."

Neil Kasanofsy stars as the vulgar, egotistic Harry Brock who has come to a swanky hotel in Washington (elaborately designed for this production by Tim Wisgerhof) to make crooked deals with government big-wigs. He has brought with him the charming but uneducated ex-chorus girl Billie (played by Heather Forte), whose lack of social graces embarrasses even Harry. Billie must be taught a few basic rules of etiquette and a little civics to survive in D.C. A young, idealistic magazine reporter Paul Verrall (Shawn Genther), who has been investigating political scandals and is interested in Brock's activities, agrees for a salary, to tutor Billie. He finds she has a natural honesty and intelligence, while she begins to learn about history, politics, and starts to see Harry for who he really is. Billie's rebellion against Harry, a new love connection, and hilarity ensue.

The 1950 Film Adaptation made Judy Holliday a movie star, a 1993 remake starred Melanie Griffith, and two Broadway revivals in 1989 and 2011 have shown that this Washington-based Pygmalion story will probably always ring true.

Howard Kissel, in a 1989 Daily News review said, "In our cynical era, the play's uncomplicated idealism makes it even move moving."

Venice Theatre's production is directed by Venice Theatre's Artistic Director Allan Kollar, with Scenic Design by Tim Wisgerhof, Lighting Design by John Andzulis, and Costume Design by Francine Smetts. Sue Brennan is the Production Stage Manager and Cindy Carruth serves as the Master Electrician.

In the cast is Heather Forte (Billie Dawn), Neil Kasanofsky (Harry Brock), Shawn Genther (Paul Verrall), Jimmie Choate (Ed Devery), Gene Callan (Senator Norval Hedges), Lynda St James (Mrs. Hedges), Dennis Berkery (Eddie Brock), Luke Manual McFatrich (The Assistant Manager/Barber), and Kathi Faulkner (Helen)

Tickets for Born Yesterday and all Venice Theatre events through June 2020 are available at the box office at 941.488.1115 or online at Venice Theatre is located at 140 Tampa Ave. W. on the island in Venice. Current box office hours are from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday and one hour before show time. In-season hours until 5 p.m. will begin Nov. 1, 2019.

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