Two months after closing out its 2018 season in late September, The Ringgold Playhouse has announced its lineup for 2019, which will be filled with comedy, drama, farce, stand-up, and improvisation.
The theatre company will offer four mainstage productions per usual in 2019, but the troupe is also looking to expand on the success of last year’s initial stand-up and improv show.
“We did what we call our TRP Comedy Club last year during the 1890’s Day Jamboree, and we’re looking to do three of those shows this season,” said TRP Executive Director Adam Cook. “It was great for us to branch out and offer audiences stand-up and improv performances because it gives them something fun and different to experience, and it opens up more doors for our company members who have talent for those types of performances.”
As far as the traditional productions go, TRP plans to resurrect an old favorite, and bring emotion to the stage this season. The season will open with the classic Larry Shue comedy “The Foreigner” in February, followed by the Tom Griffin’s dramatic comedy “The Boys Next Door” in April and May. The summer will be full of laughs when Ken Ludwig’s farce “Moon Over Buffalo” takes the stage, and the season will end on a historically comical note in the fall with Steve Martin’s “Picasso at the Lapin Agile”.
“We’re really excited about this lineup,” Mr. Cook said. “We did the ‘The Foreigner’ five years ago and it was the most popular show we’ve ever done. Audience members have been asking us to revive it every season since, but we wanted to have an adequate break between stagings of it. It’s been five years, so we finally decided to cave and give the audience what it wants.”
A breakdown of the 2019 lineup:
THE FOREIGNER by Larry Shue
Feb. 14, 15, 16, 21, 22, and 23
Play synopsis: The scene is a fishing lodge in rural Georgia often visited by "Froggy" LeSueur, a British demolition expert who occasionally runs training sessions at a nearby army base. This time, "Froggy" brings along a friend; a pathologically shy young man named Charlie who is overcome with fear at the thought of making conversation with strangers. So "Froggy," before departing, tells all assembled that Charlie is from an exotic foreign country and speaks no English. Once alone the fun really begins, as Charlie overhears more than he should—the evil plans of a sinister, two-faced minister and his redneck associate; the fact that the minister's pretty fiancée is pregnant; and many other damaging revelations made with the thought that Charlie doesn't understand a word being said. That he does fuels the nonstop hilarity of the play and sets up the wildly funny climax in which things go uproariously awry.
THE BOYS NEXT DOOR by Tom Griffin
April 25, 26, 27 and May 2, 3, and 4
Play synopsis: A communal residence in a New England is the setting where four mentally handicapped men live under the supervision of an earnest, but increasingly burned out young social worker named Jack. Norman, who works in a doughnut shop and is unable to resist the lure of the sweet pastries, takes great pride in the huge bundle of keys that dangles from his waist; Lucien P. Smith has the mind of a five-year-old but imagines that he is able to read and comprehend the weighty books he lugs about; Arnold, the ringleader of the group, is a
hyperactive, compulsive chatterer, who suffers from deep-seated insecurities and a persecution complex; while Barry, a brilliant schizophrenic who is devastated by the unfeeling rejection of his brutal father, fantasizes that he is a golf pro. Mingled with scenes from the daily lives of these four, where "little things" sometimes become momentous (and often very funny), are moments of great poignancy when, with touching effectiveness, we are reminded that the handicapped, like the rest of us, want only to love and laugh and find some meaning and purpose in the brief time that they, like their more fortunate brothers, are allotted on this Earth.
MOON OVER BUFFALO by Ken Ludwig
June 20, 21, 22, 27, 28, and 29
Play synopsis: In the madcap comedy tradition of Lend Me a Tenor, the hilarious Moon Over Buffalo centers on George and Charlotte Hay, fading stars of the 1950s. At the moment, they’re playing Private Lives and Cyrano De Bergerac in rep in Buffalo, New York with five actors. On the brink of a disastrous split-up caused by George’s dalliance with a young ingénue, they receive word that they might just have one last shot at stardom: Frank Capra is coming to town to see their matinee, and if he likes what he sees, he might cast them in his movie remake of The Scarlet Pimpernel. Unfortunately for George and Charlotte, everything that could go wrong does go wrong, abetted by a visit from their daughter’s clueless fiancé and hilarious uncertainty about which play they’re actually performing, caused by Charlotte’s deaf, old stagemanager mother who hates every bone in George’s body.
PICASSO AT THE LAPIN AGILE by Steve Martin
Aug. 29, 30, 31 and Sept. 5, 6, and 7
Play synopsis: This long running Off Broadway absurdist comedy places Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso in a Parisian cafe in 1904, just before the renowned scientist transformed physics with his theory of relativity and the celebrated painter set the art world afire with cubism. In his first comedy for the stage, the popular actor and screenwriter plays fast and loose with fact, fame, and fortune as these two geniuses muse on the century’s achievements and prospects, as well as other fanciful topics, with infectious dizziness. Bystanders, including Picasso’s agent, the bartender and his mistress, Picasso’s date, an elderly philosopher, Charles Dabernow Schmendiman, and an idiot inventor introduce additional flourishes of humor. The final surprise patron to join the merriment at the Lapin Agile is a charismatic dark-haired singer time warped in from a later era.
The season’s Comedy Club performances will take place between regular productions beginning with a one night only performance Friday, March 29, consecutive shows May 24 and 25 during 1890’s Day, and a final one night only performance Friday, July 26. The headlining comedians and improvisation troupes will be announced and advertised prior to the shows.
As is the case each year, TRP will be offering season ticket packages beginning the first week of December. “The season tickets are always a big hit,” Mr. Cook said. “It's a way for people to get tickets to all the shows at a discounted rate. Our shows aren't terribly expensive to begin with, but we like cutting the cost even more for the great people to come and see every show we produce. The season passes will go on sale next week because we have a lot of folks who buy them as Christmas gifts for friends and family each year.”
More information about TRP can be found on the city’s website; CityOfRinggoldGa.gov., or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/TheRinggoldPlayhouse/