Ken Ludwig Comedy LEADING LADIES opens at Lakewood Theater Company, March 4

Lakewood Theater Company continues its 69th season of live theater with Leading Ladies directed by Stephanie Mulligan.

In this hilarious comedy from Ken Ludwig, the author of Lend Me A Tenor and Moon Over Buffalo, two English Shakespearean actors, find themselves so unlucky that they perform “Scenes from Shakespeare” on the Moose Lodge circuit in rural Pennsylvania. When they learn that a wealthy old woman searching for her two long-lost heirs is on her deathbed, they hatch a plan that sends them on the performance of their lives.

The play begins March 4 and runs until April 10, 2022, Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings at 7:30 p.m., a performance on Wednesday (March 23) at 7:30 p.m., a Saturday matinee at 2:00 p.m. (April 2) and matinees Sunday at 2 p.m. (March 6, 13, 20, 27 and April 3, 10). The main sponsor of the show is Bonnie Conger. The management sponsors are The Springs Living in Lake Oswego and Drs. Bill & Ricky Korach, and guest artist godmother is Samantha Richardson.

The theater is located at the Lakewood Center for the Arts, 368 S. State St. in Lake Oswego. Ticket prices are $36/adults and $34/seniors. Further discounts are available for students and groups. For more information and tickets, call the Lakewood Box Office at (503) 635-3901 or order online at https://www.lakewood-center.org

Special note: On Wednesday, March 23, the theater continues its program entitled WOW: 25-35. For spectators 35 and under, tickets are $25 each. Use code WOW25 when ordering tickets online to get this special discount. During this performance, there will be a free wine tasting one hour before curtain time, courtesy of an Oregon winery. OLCC rules apply! Bring your ID for the tasting!

The Story: Set in 1952, Leading Ladies is the story of two Shakespearean actors wallowing in theatrical misery. Jack (Phillip J. Berns) is ready to take off his pantyhose to find a woman and settle down, while his pal Leo (Sam Dinkowitz) is eager to make some big bucks. But then, what luck! They learn that sick dear old Florence (Margie Boulé) from nearby York, Pennsylvania is about to die and leave her fortune to her two long-lost English nephews whom she has never seen. For Jack and Leo, it will be easy to transform into nephews Max and Steve and collect the money. When they find out that “Max” and “Steve” are actually “Maxine” and “Stephanie”, they fearlessly continue hanging out.

Romantic entanglements abound in this wacky comedy as Leo falls head over heels in love with Florence’s lively niece, Meg (Jessica Tidd), who is engaged to Duncan (Nathan Dunkin), the local minister. Meanwhile, Jack passes out in front of Florence’s sweet, young neighbor, Audrey (Jessi Walters). Ailing Florence miraculously recovers, but the boys decide to continue the subterfuge trying to survive her health and stay close to their new loves.

To keep pretending, Leo convinces Meg, who loves Shakespeare, to put on a production at the Florence Estate to give himself more opportunities to be with her, both as Leo and Maxine. Meanwhile, Meg’s fiancé grows increasingly suspicious of the “Leading Ladies”. Ken Ludwig-style chaos ensues on production night when a telegram arrives stating that the real Maxine and Stephanie will be arriving that very evening!

Other talented cast members include Don Stewart Burns as Doc, leader of the Loyal Order of the Elk, and Matthew Sunderland as Butch, Doc’s son.

Director Stephanie Mulligan aptly describes Leading Ladies as “a jolly mix of Twelfth Night – one of her favorite Shakespearean comedies – and brilliant film, Some Like it Hot, with touches of Mrs. Doubtfire and Charley’s Aunt to make good measure. “

LTC production of Leading Ladies is directed by Stephanie Mulligan, stage manager is Hailee Foster, set design is by John Gerth, sound design is by Marcus Storey, lighting design is by Kurt Herman, costume design is by Paige A. Hanna, wigs are by Jane Holmes, prop choreography is by Laura Hiszczynskyj, property design is by Micah Steury, and producer is Steve Knox.

SPECIAL NOTE: Mask and vaccination protocols are required, and details can be found on the Lakewood website at https://www.lakewood-center.org.

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