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September 7, 2010 > Theatre: Leading Ladies

Theatre: Leading Ladies

By Emma Victoria G. Blanco

Jack and Leo are a couple of English Shakespearean actors down on their luck. While mulling over their current situation, Leo comes across a newspaper story about an ailing socialite, Florence Snider, in York, Pennsylvania. Snider is looking for two long-lost relatives, Max and Steve, who stand to inherit two-thirds of her fortune. They hatch a plan to pretend to be Max and Steve. But when they find out that Max and Steve are really Maxine and Stephanie, an uproarious comedic tale ensues - complete with romantic mishaps and numerous costume changes as Jack and Leo engage in the back-and-forth charade of being Stephanie and Maxine.

Leading Ladies, Ken Ludwig's successful comedy premiered at the Alley Theatre in Houston, Texas in October 2004 and received instant rave reviews. Ludwig's work (including "Lend Me a Tenor" and "Moon Over Buffalo") has received Tony and Olivier Awards, and two Helen Hayes awards.

Douglas Morrisson Theater (DMT)'s production is directed by John Maio and is refreshingly funny. The eight-member cast collectively delivers a strong performance with evident chemistry and flawless comedic timing.

John Paul Reese stands out and tall as the scheming Leo Clark, who plays a rather convincing "Maxine." The fall-guy and other half of the duo is played by John Vincent Burke, who is hysterical as Jack Gable and "Stephanie." Kateri Rose is a sincere and starry-eyed Meg, dreaming big dreams.

Marilyn Kamelgram is wonderful and funny as the cantankerous matriarch, Florence Snider. Audrey is played adorably by Victoria Rose with a delightful combination of naivetˇ and verbosity to the show. Mark Flores is amusing as her wary lovesick beau, Butch. Duncan, the self-righteous minister and Meg's miserly fiancˇ is deftly played by Louis Schilling, whose off-beat banters with Jay Clifton (a DMT veteran who plays a witty Doc) make for a memorable performance.

Leading Ladies is a charming comedy now playing at Hayward's Morrisson Theater through September 26th. Take a break from the summer-end doldrums and welcome the fall season with some good-natured laughter.

Leading Ladies
September 3 - September 26, 2010
Thursdays (Sept. 16 and Sept. 23 only) at 8 p.m.
Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m.
Sundays at 2 p.m.

Douglas Morrisson Theater
22311 N Third St, Hayward
(510) 881-6777

Tickets: $24 adults, $22 seniors, $15 students

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