Midcoast Actors’ Studio is pleased to present the 4th play of its 2014 season, Plaza Suite by Neil Simon, October 10-19 at the Troy Howard Stage in Belfast. Hilarity abounds in this portrait of three couples successively occupying a suite at the Plaza Hotel in New York City. First presented on Broadway in 1968, Plaza Suite is one of Simon’s most famous plays and a staple in American comedy. The New York Post called it “A wonderfully happy and gratifying evening of sheer entertainment…Richly funny.”
The play is composed of three acts, each involving different characters but all set in Suite 719 of New York City’s Plaza Hotel. The first act, Visitor From Mamaroneck, introduces the audience to not-so-blissfully wedded couple Sam and Karen Nash (Greg Marsanskis and Shari Wick John), who are revisiting their honeymoon suite in an attempt by Karen to bring the love back into their marriage. Her plan backfires and the two become embroiled in a heated argument about whether or not Sam is having an affair with his secretary (Jen Wendell). The act ends with Sam leaving (allegedly to attend to urgent business) and Karen sadly reflecting on how much things have changed since they were young.
The second act, Visitor from Hollywood, involves a meeting between movie producer Jesse Kiplinger (Jason Bannister) and his old flame, suburban housewife Muriel Tate (Katie Glessner Perkins). Muriel – aware of his reputation as a smooth-talking ladies’ man – has come for nothing more than a chat between old friends, promising herself she will not stay too long. Jesse, however, has other plans in mind and repeatedly attempts to seduce her.
The third act, Visitor from Forest Hills, revolves around married couple Roy and Norma Hubley (Dennis Harrington and Beverly Mann) on their daughter Mimsey’s wedding day. In a rush of nervousness, Mimsey (Leah Elizabeth Darcy) has locked herself in the suite’s bathroom and refuses to leave. This is the most comic of the acts, filled with increasingly outrageous slapstick moments depicting her parents’ frantic attempts to cajole her into attending her wedding while the gathered guests await the trio’s arrival downstairs. The scene ends and they finally get married. The fiance and bellhop is played by Martin Long.
Directing Plaza Suite is MAS veteran Erik Perkins. Perkins directed MAS’s Pygmalion in 2013. Bannister, Artistic Director of Midcoast Actors’ Studio, is serving as producer and light designer. Valerie Philbrick is the stage manager and hair/makeup designer. Robert DesLauriers is the set designer, Pip McFaul is the costume designer, Amy Pillitteri is the sound designer, and Jay Rosenberg and Elaine Bielenberg are design advisors.
Performances are October 10-19 at the Troy Howard Stage, 173 Lincolnville Ave. in Belfast. Friday and Saturday performances are at 7:00 p.m. Sunday matinees are at 2:00 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for students/seniors. For reservations or more information please call the box office at 370-7592 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Picture caption: Jesse (Jason Bannister) fixes Muriel (Katie Glessner Perkins) a drink. photo courtesy of Leah Elizabeth Darcy