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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Old Time Comedy in Elm Grove

‘Fox on the Fairway’ at Sunset Playhouse

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Contemporary playwright Ken Ludwig has made quite a name for himself constructing stage sitcoms that feel like authentic sitcoms from another era. Taken completely out of context, his Lend Me A Tenor may as well have been written in its 1930s setting. The script feels authentic to the era and its mid-1980s debut is a mere technicality. Likewise, his Moon Over Buffalo was a 1995 comedy that reads like some lost script from 1953—the year in which it was set.

Though his comedies have played well in big markets, the secret to Ludwig's success may lie in the appeal of old-style comedies to the older generations of theatergoers who continue to see shows in suburban community theaters all over the country. Witness Ludwig's Fox on the Fairway. Critics who feel its humor is too old to seem even remotely fresh have lambasted the comedy, but such criticism misses the point entirely. The point is, there is a place somewhere deep in the heart of America that longs for the simplicity of humor from the heart of the 20th century. The fact that there were only so many decent staged comedies written in the era need not be an obstacle here. There is an audience that longs to go to that place. And it will get a chance to return to that place in Elm Grove this summer.

The Sunset Playhouse's production of The Fox on the Fairway runs May 30-June 16 at the Furlan Auditorium, 800 Elm Grove Road. For tickets call 262-782-4430 or visit sunsetplayhouse.com.

 

Theatre Happenings

Pink Banana Theatre hosts Game Night, another shorts program this summer with scripts by local playwrights including Fly Steffens and Liz Shipe. It runs June 6-15 at Next Act Theatre, 255 S. Water St. For tickets, visit brownpapertickets.com/event/327215.

 

And later next month, Waukesha Civic Theatre presents Communicating Doors, a contemporary comic thriller by Alan Ayckbourn, June 14-30 at 264 W. Main St., Waukesha. For tickets, call 262-547-0708 or visit waukeshacivictheatre.org.

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