Cortland Repertory Theatre starts their celebratory 40th Anniversary "Ruby Jubilee" season at the Little York Pavilion with "Rumors", a hysterical farce penned by America's Master of Comedy, Neil Simon. Simon is best known for his cannon of wildly successful comedies, and is the only playwright in history to have four shows running on Broadway at the same time: "The Odd Couple", "Barefoot in the Park", "The Star Spangled Girl" and the musical "Sweet Charity". He has been nominated 17 times for the Tony Award, has won 3, and also won the Pulitzer Prize for his semi-autobiographical comedy/drama "Lost in Yonkers". "Rumors" is the only true farce that he has added to his extensive body of work.
Performances will run from June 8th - 18th with evening performances at 7:30. Matinees are available on June 10th, 12th and 15th at 2:00 PM. Tickets may be purchase by calling 800-427-6160 or at the CRT Box Office at 37 Franklin Street in Cortland. Tickets are also available for sale 24 hours a day through the CRT website at www.cortlandrep.org.
"Rumors" takes place on the evening of the 10th wedding anniversary of the Deputy Mayor of New York City. Over the course of the evening, four affluent couples, including his lawyer, his accountant, his therapist, and a rising politician, arrive separately at the Mayor's swank Sneden's Landing townhouse to celebrate. However, one-by-one they are horrified to discover that the Mayor has shot himself (through the ear), his wife is missing, the servants are gone and no food is prepared. As the Mayor lies incoherent and groggy in the bedroom, the couples frantically try to figure out what exactly happened. Fearful of scandal, they create stories to keep the truth from each other, which become more convoluted as the "rumors" get bigger and wilder. When the police eventually arrive, no one is sure what the real story is, the confusions and miscommunications mount, and the evening spins off into classic farcical hilarity. The New York Times said that "Rumors has nothing on its mind except making the audience laugh" and NBC-TV said that it is "Not only side splitting, but front and back splitting".
Producing Artistic Director Kerby Thompson directs. "I'm very excited to work on this hilarious Simon play," he says. "It's actually quite similar to "Unnecessary Farce" from our 2009 Season, which became our highest attended non-musical play in our 40 year history. With this great script and a fantastic cast, anyone who loves or needs a good laugh is sure to enjoy this production." Thompson's other recent CRT directing credits include "See How They Run" and "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas".
The cast is a mix of familiar and new faces to CRT audiences. Last seen in 2010's "The Andrews Brothers", Sean Riley plays attorney Ken Gorman with newcomer Melissa Macleod Herion as his wife, Chris who picked a bad day to quit smoking. Nicholas Wilder is accountant Lenny Ganz with Amy Desiato, who played "Steam Heat" dancer Gladys in last summer's "The Pajama Game" as his gossipy wife Claire. Playing Cookie Cusack, a cooking show host, is Erica Livingston, who was in CRT's "Unnecessary Farce" and "The Great American Trailer Park Musical"; her therapist husband Ernie is played by Colin Wasmund, who was seen in CRT's "Almost Maine". Rounding out the couples are Jackie Washam as neurotic Cassie Cooper and CRT favorite Dustin Charles as her husband, the up-and-coming politician Glenn. Charles has been seen in eight CRT shows, including "Brigadoon", "Unnecessary Farce" and "I Hate Hamlet". The two police officers who stumble into the chaos are played by Danny Blaylock, last seen in "Johnny Guitar" as Officer Welch and Cortland's own Jamilla Fort as Officer Pudney. Fort appeared in numerous plays at Cortland High School and has just completely her junior year at the Crane School of Music.
Returning Stage Manager Eric Behnke leads a talented production team. Returning this year are: Jason Bolen who created scenic designs for CRT's "The Andrews Brothers", and "The Pajama Game"; Costume designer Jimmy Johnsmeyer fresh from last season's "Brigadoon", and "Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks" among many more; Lighting Designer Shawn Boyle, direct from serving as Associate Director for the new Broadway show "The People in the Picture"; Sound Designer Dave Huber in his third CRT year and Technical Director Patrick McGovern. Properties Mistress Danielle Hodgins and Assistant Stage Management Intern Tracy Hoida make their CRT debuts with this show.
CRT will continue the tradition of "Friday Night Talk Backs" at which a Q & A session with the actors, designers and crew take place after every Friday evening performance. Tickets are also on sale for all of CRT's summer season, which includes "Chicago", "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat", "A Murder is Announced", "The Smell of the Kill", "Souvenir: A Fantasia on the Life of Florence Foster Jenkins" and the children's show "Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz"
Jamilla Fort as Officer Pudney, Danny Blaylock as Officer Welch and - from bottom up - Colin Wasmund as Ernie Cusack, Erica Livingston as Cookie Cusack, Jackie Washam as Cassie Cooper and Dustin Charles as Glen Cooper
amilla Fort as Officer Pudney, Danny Blaylock as Officer Welch and - from bottom up - Sean Riley as Ken Gorman, Melissa Macleod Herion as Chris Gorman, Amy Desiato as Claire Ganz and Nickolas Wilder as Lenny Ganz