Today: Feb 20 , 2020

'Laughter on the 23rd Floor' Opens Tonight in Prescott

08 April 2011  

Full of jokes and laughter, this play offers a reminder of the early days of live television, when anything can happen.

With the spring sweeps just around the corner, it is the perfect time to see a play with a passion for TV. The latest Prescott Fine Arts Association play, Laughter on the 23rd Floor, is Neil Simons' bittersweet memory of television's golden years. The creator of the Odd Couple crafted a comedy based on his experience as a writer for the then-newly minted, Emmy award winning, Your Show of Shows. The story is told through characters drawn from Simon's fellow writers and performers at the time, which included Carl Reiner, Mel Brooks, and, the legend in his own time, Sid Caesar.

Lucas Brickman (Joseph Hough), an aspiring comic writer, is the narrator that introduces "the lunatics": Milt Fields (Glenn Velguth) who has a flair for fashion; Val Skolsky (Jon Meyer) the Russian headwriter who has to be tutored to swear properly; Brian Doyle (Martin Caldwell) who is always threatening to break into the big time in Hollywood; the dapper boy wonder Kenny Franks (Clinton Slay), and lone women Carol Wyman (Kathy Shedd). Rounding off the cast of characters is a wild hypochondriac Ira Stone (David Hendrickson), and a competent secretary Helen (Lauren Crawford) whose only difficulty is a lack of timing.

The whole group is led by Max Prince (Bruce Thomson), whose magnified battles with the emerging television networks bring to life the world of variety shows that had to go live every week with skits, music, and even on-air commercials. The joy of this production is the creation of the group of lunatics who are every bit as wild, crazy, and alive as the ones in Neil Simon's mind.

As the team attempts to find the creativity to produce a great show under the pressure of all-live TV, Prince struggles with the network, his finances, and addictions. Intertwined with many admittedly off color jokes and language, the ensemble cast brings off a winning and hilarious combination of the meaning of friendship, leadership, and loss. Of course, that includes fighting for what and who you believe in - even if it is just a funny joke, or this case lots and lots of funny jokes.

In a group of outstanding performances, of special note is the return of New York state native Bruce Thomson, who brings the stage a special feel for these characters. This is also the Prescott Fine Arts Association stage debut of it's new executive director, Jon Meyer.

The "definitely adult" language make this a show of shows for grown ups.

The play opens on April 7th with additional shows on the 8th, 9th, 14th, 15th, and 16th at 7:30 PM. Two matinees at 2:00 PM on April 10th, and 16th.

Ticket prices are $16 for evening performance and $12 for matinees.

 

 

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