WHEELING - Two down-on-their-luck actors hit a snag and end up in drag as they scheme to steal money from an unwitting family in the comedy "Leading Ladies," to be staged May 2-4 and May 9-10 at Oglebay Institute's Towngate Theatre.
Set in York, Pa., in 1958, "Leading Ladies" follows the exploits of Shakespearean actors Leo Clark and Jack Gable, who find themselves performing "Scenes from Shakespeare" on the Moose Lodge circuit in the Amish Country of Pennsylvania. When they learn that an ailing old lady is about to die and leave a multi-million dollar inheritance to her long lost English nephews, they resolve to pass themselves off as her beloved relatives and cash in on her fortune. When they discover that the long lost relatives are nieces, they continue, undaunted, in drag. What ensues is a classic farce of romantic entanglements, naughty innuendoes, mistaken identities and rip-roaring high jinks.
"Leading Ladies" is written by Tony-nominated playwright Ken Ludwig, who also penned stage favorites "Lend Me a Tenor," "Crazy For You" and "Moon Over Buffalo." His work has been performed in at least 30 countries in more than 20 languages. The Cleveland Plain Dealer has described Ludwig as "Broadway's reigning comic writer," and his work has been commissioned by the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Bristol Old Vic.
Rob Garrison, left, Karissa Martin and Bryan Braunlich star in Ken Ludwig’s comedy “Leading Ladies,” which will be staged at Oglebay Institute’s Towngate Theatre May 2-4 and May 9-10. — Contributed
LEADING LADIES MEN — Two down-on-their-luck actors hit a snag and end up in drag as they scheme to con an ailing old lady out of her fortune by posing as her long lost relatives in the crowd-pleasing, gender-bending comedy “Leading Ladies.” Those in the production include, from left, Bryan Braunlich, Gretchen Schneider, Karissa Martin and Rob Garrison. — Contributed
Towngate's production is directed by P.D. Gregg and features a talented cast of local actors. Bryan Braunlich and Rob Garrison star as Jack and Leo, respectively. Gretchen Schneider plays Meg. Karissa Martin plays Audrey. Bob Lane has the role of Doc. Jim Weekly is Duncan. Justin Swoyer is Butch, and Dee Greg plays Florence.
"Leading Ladies" will be staged at 8 p.m. on May 2, 3, 9 and 10 and 3 p.m. May 4. Tickets can be purchased by calling (304) 242-7700 or at www.oionline.com. For those buying seats at the door, Towngate's box office opens one hour before all shows and can be reached at (304) 233-0820.
Patrons attending the 3 p.m.May 4 performance may stay for the Bard's Lodge Buffet, a fundraiser for the theater. This picnic style, potluck lunch is presented and hosted by the Friends of Towngate. Advance registration is required and can be made by calling (304) 242-7700 or online at www.OIonline.com.