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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Con Is On in Sunset's'Six Degrees'

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When people take advantage of the ambiguity of identity at the expense of others, it can get positively revolting. Take the case of David Hampton, a man who passed himself off as the son of Sidney Poitier in the early '80s. Hampton conned money out of wealthy Manhattanites by claiming to be in New York to visit his famous father. He said he was wounded during a mugging in Central Park and was looking for a few kind people to help him out. In 1983, Hampton was convicted of fraud and banned from New York City.

In 1990, John Guare wrote an acclaimed drama based on Hampton's con. Six Degrees of Separation quickly became a hit. After winning the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award, the play was adapted into a film starring Stockard Channing and Will Smith.

As relevant as ever, Six Degrees of Separation is being staged this month at the Sunset Playhouse in Elm Grove. The cast includes a number of notable young talents, including Ruth Arnell, Nate Press and Sherrick Robinson as the con artist, named Paul in the play. Donna Daniels and Jim Santelle play the wealthy couple victimized by Paul.

Sunset Playhouse's production of Six Degrees of Separation runs May 24-June 10. For ticket reservations, call 262-782-4430.

Theater Happenings

  • Off the Wall Theatre concludes its season with the Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt musical Roadside. The Western musical is based on a story by Lynn Riggs, the author whose work inspired Oklahoma. Roadside runs May 24-June 3. For ticket reservations, call 414-327-3552.
  • Carte Blanche Studios opens its final show of the season on June 1. Carte Blanche continues its exploration of works by William Shakespeare with The Comedy of Errors. The show runs June 1-17 at Carte Blanche Studios, 1024 S. Fifth St. For ticket reservations, visit www.carteblanchestudios.com.