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Thursday, Feb. 25, 2010

In Tandem Lets Loose With Humorous ‘Stuck’

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When a script has the distinction of getting its playwright into an MFA program in Las Vegas, you know it’s good. For UW-Whitewater grad Neil Haven, Stuck is that script. The contemporary comedy about Ella, an agoraphobic elevator operator at a retro hotel, debuted locally with a UW-Whitewater production at the Tenth Street Theatre. The play returns this week in a production staged entirely by Tenth Street’s In Tandem Theatre Company. The new production is being directed by In Tandem co-founder Chris Flieller.

Flieller has assembled a really fun cast comprised of some of In Tandem’s best comic talents. Doug Jarecki and Karen Estrada of the sketch comedy group The Show join beautiful comic talent Alison Mary Forbes (who has been in the last few Cudahy Caroler shows with In Tandem). Libby Amato, who made a memorable turn in the recent sci-fi comedy musical Invader? also appears, along with Nicholas Harazin, who has appeared in a number of Shakespearean productions with American Players Theatre and the defunct Milwaukee Shakespeare.

Stuck is the best script to emerge from Haven’s steadily growing body of work. Ella’s situation seems overly exotic at first glance, but Haven manages to make the concept of a young woman living in an elevator not only plausible, but also charming.

With the right actress in the lead role, this light, simple comedy should make for a fun night at the theater. This is where the current production takes a chance on a newcomer: Leia Espericueta is set to make her Milwaukee debut as Ella. Espericueta, who graduated from UW-Madison last spring, recently performed with Madison’s Forward Theater.

According to In Tandem co-founder Jane Flieller, director Chris sees Stuck “as a comedy reflective of the 1930 screwball comedy era, in that the witty banter and sparring nature of the dialogue lends itself neatly to that genre.”

With his great directorial instincts and proven track record, there is little doubt that Flieller has chosen another winner.

In Tandem’s Stuck runs Feb. 26 through March 14 at the Tenth Street Theatre. For tickets, call 271-1371.