MILL HALL - Supposedly, it was William Shakespeare who penned the phrase, "The play's the thing." But what would the Bard do if he knew that his 37 plays were being performed all at once? And in only 97 minutes? Old Will would probably turn over in his grave!
Millbrook Playhouse will present "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)" at 7:30 PM on Feb. 20, 21 and 22 at the Lock Haven Elks Club, 16 E. Main St., Lock Haven.
Called "highly entertaining, highly irrelevant and slightly insane," "The Complete Works ..." are of course not complete, but only rapid-fire condensations by three accomplished, silly actors.
Leading the looney trio of actors is Lawrence Lesher, a familiar face at Millbrook for the last few summers. In 2013, he directed "The 39 Steps" at the barn theater and the December production "A Tuna Christmas" at the Elks Club. Lesher, who starred in the national tour of the show, also directs this production which leads into the 51st season beginning in June. Also featured are Matthew Harris, who appeared in "The 39 Steps" and "A Tuna Christmas," and Millbrook newcomer Chris Kateff.
Typically, these actors use their real names, playing themselves instead of the characters in the script which has been raucously updated for the 21st century. Improvisation also is important as the actors frequently deviate from the script and have spontaneous conversations with each other or the audience. Sometimes, there is a barb or two tossed out to the local folks about the community's culture.
Parodies of all of Shakespeare's comedies, histories and dramas are presented in comically shortened or amalgamated form at a breakneck speed of only 97 minutes. Having seen the play, I can verify that the frantic pacing only slows when the actors have to wait for the audience to stop laughing - which happens frequently.
Millbrook's Artistic Director David Leidholdt promised that the updated script will be presented "in all of its slapstick, cross-dressing, adolescent, terrible wig glory."
Seating is general admission at tables with audience members invited to bring their food and snacks (a la Millbrook's Cabaret format).
Drinks are to be ordered from the Elks Club on a cash basis.
One final promise: "If you like Shakespeare, you'll like this show. If you hate Shakespeare, you'll like this show."
For tickets, call 570-748-8083 or visit www.millbrookplayhouse.org
When speaking to David Leidholdt in November after his appointment as Millbrook's Playhouse's new Artistic Director, royalties had not been confirmed for all of the 2014 summer attractions.
But now, the 51st season of professional summer stock theater fare - consisting of four Main Stage attractions upstairs and four shows in the Cabaret downstairs, plus the children's shows - is announced:
ON THE MAIN STAGE
Three musicals and a comedy are slated upstairs with all opening nights on Fridays except for the season's first attraction which opens on Thursday June 12.
"The Wizard of Oz" (June 12 to 15 and 19 to 22) - The yellow brick road will lead to Millbrook and watch for dozens of community tykes as munchkins.
"Happy Days: A New Musical" (June 27 to 29 and July 2, 3, 5 and 6) - Hey, if anyone can save Arnold's malt shop, it is "the Fonz" and his singing.
"Little Shop of Horrors" (July 11 to 13 and 15 to 20) - The little plant that could and would eat the world brings new meaning to "Feed Me!"
"Biloxi Blues" ( July 25 to 27, 30 and 31 and Aug. 1 to 3) - The second in Neil Simon's autobiographical trilogy follows his exploits in the Army.
IN THE CABARET
The informality of the cozy 100 seat Cabaret and this summer's four shows will again draw appreciative audiences.
"Miss Abigail's Guide to Dating, Mating and Marriage" (June 20 to 22 and 25 to 29) - The title says it all.
"Rounding Third" (July 3, 5, 6 and 9 to 13) - Two Little League coaches teach each other more lessons than baseball.
"Don't Dress for Dinner" (July 18 to 20 and 24 to 27) - Drawers will drop in this popular farce as most characters appear in some stage of undress.
"Church Basement Ladies" (Aug. 1 to 3 and 6 to 10) - Blessed be the likable ladies in a small church who use their big mouths to sing and gossip.
"The House at Pooh Corner" (May 5, 16 and 10 to 23); "Bunnicula" (June 14, 21 and 28); and "Rescuing Rapunzel" (July 12, 19 and 23).
"School House Rock Live, Jr." (Aug. 8 and 9); "The Just So Stories" (Aug. 15 and 16).