Neil Simon’s Hysterical 50’s Comedy, LAUGHTER ON THE 23RD FLOOR

By | January 14, 2016 at 12:21 am | No comments | Columns, Theatre

Presented by Desert Theatreworks at the Arthur Newman Theatre beginning January 29, 2016.

Playwright Neil Simon got his first big break in the early 1950s as a staff writer on Sid Caesar’s fabled television series Your Show of Shows, and this comedy takes a fictionalized look at the backstage chaos that went into producing one of the landmarks of television’s golden age.

Max Prince is the star of The Max Prince Show, a popular comedy-variety series that is a major hit on the East Coast, but network executive insists that it’s too sophisticated for the Midwest, and urges Prince to dumb down his act. Between the tensions of producing an hour of top-quality comedy each week and being pestered about his ratings, Prince is beginning to unravel. His last line of defense against both the network and the ratings are his writing staff, which spends its days coming up with business for the show while hurling humorous invective at each other and anyone else within earshot.

Keeping up a running commentary on the writing, fighting and wacky antics is Simon’s alter ego Lucas Brickman.

Laughter 23rd Floor Cast

Lance Phillips-Martinez directs the talents of: Stephee Bonifacio (Helen), Arnie Kleban (Max), Ed Lefkowitz (Milt), Jason Lewis (Val), Tanner Lieser (Kenny), Tiffani LoBue (Carol), Mason McIntosh (Lucas), Stephen McMillen (Brian) and Mike Olton (Ira)

The Production crew includes: Ron Phillips-Martinez (CEO/Sets), Janelle Kauffman (Stage Manager), Michele Dobson (Costumes), Stephen Blackwell (Assistant Director), Peter Nicholson (Acting Coach), Angus Feath (Sound Board) and Kay Kudukis (Light Board).

Laughter on the 23rd Floor opened on Broadway at the Richard Rodgers Theatre on November 22, 1993 and closed on August 27, 1994 after 320 performances and 24 previews. Directed by Jerry Zaks the cast featured Nathan Lane (Max), Ron Orbach (Ira), Randy Graff (Carol), Mark Linn-Baker (Val), Bitty Schram (Helen), J. K. Simmons (Brian), and Lewis J. Stadlen (Milt). The play was first performed at Duke University. Stephen Mailer played Simon’s young stand-in Lucas. According to The San Francisco Chronicle, “Simon has identified the sources for his characters — Mel Tolkin for the Russian emigre Val, Mel Brooks for Ira, Larry Gelbart and Carl Reiner for Kenny.”

”Laughter on the 23rd Floor is a nonstop laugh-a-thon” says Artistic Director/Director Lance Phillips-Martinez, “The script is masterfully written and will keep audiences laughing from beginning to end.”

Laughter on the 23rd Floor contains some mature language and is recommended for ages 15 and up.

Performance dates and times: January 29, 30 & February 5, 6 2016 at 7pm/ January 30, 31 & February 6, 7 2016 at 7pm. The Arthur Newman Theatre is located at 73-750 Catalina Way, Palm Desert CA, 92260.Ticket prices: General admission $26/Senior $24/Student (with ID) $16/Groups of 8 or more call box office 760-980-1455. Tickets can be purchased online www.dtworks.org, in person at the Arthur Newman Theatre, and by phone 760-980-1455.

Desert Theatreworks 2015-16 Season continues with:

“Clue the Musical” March 11-20, 2016 – Based on the popular board game with over 200 possible endings.

“Other Desert Cities” April 8-17, 2016 – The thrilling Broadway family drama set in Palm Springs, CA.

 

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