Popular farce will open new theatrical season featuring veteran cast
The Cumberland Theatre will officially open their 36th Season with the popular farce The Play That Goes Wrong on Friday, February 2nd. The show is being sponsored by Mary Splain Shrout with additional funding from Sam and Pam Griffith.
A celebration gala is planned to follow the performance which includes complimentary refreshments, a champagne toast, prizes and the announcement of the Cumberland Theatre Patron of the Year award. There is no additional cost to attend the gala. It is included in the ticket cost for that evening’s performance.
Written in 2012 by Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer, and Henry Shields of Mischief Theatre Company, the play won Best New Comedy at the 2015 Laurence Olivier Awards. The show has been running since 2012 in London and since 2014, has undertaken five tours of the UK. It opened on Broadway in 2017 and ran for over 750 performances before transferring Off-Broadway to New World Stages where it is still playing.
The award-winning farce takes place on opening night of the Cornley University Drama Society’s newest production, The Murder at Haversham Manor, where things are quickly going from bad to utterly disastrous. Before the play even begins the audience sees the backstage staff doing last-minute adjustments to the set, including trying to mend broken set pieces and find a dog that has run off.
During the performance, a play within a play, a plethora of disasters befalls the cast, including doors sticking, props falling from the walls, and floors collapsing. The 1920’s whodunit has everything audiences never wanted in a show—an unconscious leading lady, a corpse that can’t play dead, and actors who trip over everything (including their lines). Cast members are seen misplacing props, forgetting lines, missing cues, breaking character, having to drink paint thinner instead of whisky, mispronouncing words and being manhandled on and off stage. One cast member is knocked unconscious, and her replacement (the group's technician) refuses to yield when she returns. In another scene, an actor repeats an earlier line of dialogue, cuing the other actors to repeat the whole dialogue sequence, ever more frenetically, several times. Nevertheless, the accident-prone thespians battle against all odds to make it through to their final curtain call, with hilarious consequences! Part Monty Python, part Sherlock Holmes, this Olivier Award–winning comedy is a global phenomenon that’s left audiences aching with laughter all over the world.
CT’s upcoming rendition features both local and visiting actors and marks the debut of new guest director Rebecca Wahls. A graduate of Carnegie Mellon University, Wahls has served as Artistic Associate with Acting for Young People since 2015, where she has written and directed over 50 plays for children. In 2017, she founded the non-profit theatre Who What Where Productions, where she produced and directed several world premiere plays including Spills by Ruthie Rado, which has gone on to successful runs in NYC and London.
Playing the role of Chris Bean the self-proclaimed leader of the drama society, as well as the star and director of The Murder of Havisham Manor, will be CT veteran actor Bill Dennison, who was seen last season in The Wisdom of Eve and A Few Good Men.
Other members of the drama society are portrayed by Matt Baughman (last seen in Perfect Wedding), Aimee Meunier (last seen in Evil Dead the Musical), Bryan Murtha (last seen in 2016’s concert production of 1776), Kimberli Rowley (CT’s Artistic Director), Seth Thompson (last seen in A Few Good Men), Mark Worth (last seen in Murder on the Orient Express) and Alex Stompoly, who made his CT debut in December’s production of The Holiday Channel Christmas Movie Wonderthon.
The design team for the show is comprised of Rhett Wolford (set design), Cody Gilliam (costume design), Ken Phillips (lighting design) and Trevor McCabe (props design). Darrell Rushton will serve as the fight director with assistance from Brian Records. The run crew consists of Mel Mader (stage manager), Anthony Tagliaferro (assistant stage manager), Rowan Dickson (deck crew and wardrobe assistant) and Seth Thompson (fight captain).
A preview performance will be held Thursday, February 1st at 8:00 pm. Following the preview, performances are February 2nd – 18th with Friday and Saturday performances at 8:00 pm and Sundays at 2:00 pm. The gala opening reception is included in the ticket price for February 2nd. More information on ratings, group sale, etc can be found on cumberlandtheatre.com where single tickets are available for purchase as well as 2024 Season Passes.