WORLD PREMIERE "COMEDY IS HARD!" IN IVORYTON
By Bonnie Goldberg
Theater has long been a see-saw balance of tragedy and comedy, with an occasional dip into dramedy, where the elements involved both vie for top billing. In Mike Reiss' world premiere production "Comedy Is Hard!" two long time veteran performers struggle to find an answer that satisfies them both. Set in their twilight years, both Kay and Lou have graced the stage for decades, Kay as a dedicated actress of drama and Lou doing it all for laughs. He is 84 years young and is trapped in a wheelchair due to a stroke. She is 60+12 and also finds herself in a wheelchair due to a slip in the shower. Fortunately for the audience, Kay is the delightful Joyce DeWitt from "Three's Company" and Lou is the favorite Monkees' star Mickey Dolenz.
Ivoryton Playhouse will be free wheeling this theatrical debate until Sunday, October 12 for your entertainment pleasure. When the two meet in a park in Manhattan, Kay is with her almost non-verbal nurse Valentina (Dorian Mendez) and Lou is being ferried around by his uncooperative son Phil (Michael McDermott).They share their history on the stage and argue over whose career is more meaningful and deserving of praise.
Along the way, they find themselves in The Actors Home in New Jersey and encounter diverse objects, situations and personages from Tinkerbell to Elmo to Angela Lansbury, disco balls, bicycle bells to balloons, pancakes to tuna fish sandwiches, to Canadians who have yet to learn to laugh to mysterious ladies sporting red berets. When the pair decide to put on a play, Beckett's "Waiting for Godot," the age-old question of which is harder and has more value, comedy or tragedy, has a chance of being answered.
This end of life story is sweetness with a tinge of sadness. Jacqueline Hubbard directs it with a poignancy that lends its authenticity. Also in the cast are a homeless man (Michael Hotkowski) and a retired actor (Dan Coyle) who add color to the tale. Mike Reiss' sense of humor is evident throughout as his one-liners create chuckles, giggles and guffaws.
For tickets ($42, seniors $37, students $20 and children $15), call the Ivoryton Playhouse, 103 Main Street, Ivoryton at 860-767-7318 or online at www.ivorytonplayhouse.org. Performances are Wednesday at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.
Put your mask of comedy firmly in place as Joyce DeWitt and Mickey Dolenz invite you into their world of entertainment, courtesy of funny man Mike Reiss.