Reitz Theatre Kicks off 2011 Season with ‘Laughter on the 23rd Floor

Row 1 (L-R): Jonanthan Heid, Alyssa Wood, Ben Fye, Hunter Lee Pataski, Sue Meholick, Greg Weible. Row 2 (L-R): Josh Alderton, Dave Clark, Dean Stephens. (Photo provided by Drew Gordon)

DUBOIS – The Reitz Theater of DuBois kicks off their 2011 season going back to the Golden Age of Television, as they present Neil Simon’s Laughter on the 23rd Floor, sponsored by Johnson Motors of DuBois, Feb. 11, 12, 17, 18, and 19 at 8 p.m., and Feb. 13 at 2 pm. The show is Simon’s homage to his days as a junior jokesmith writing for Sid Caesar’s Your Show of Shows.  

Set in 1953, the production re-creates the mayhem, neuroses, nonstop gags, and constant one-upmanship of a team of brilliantly funny social misfits as they write The Max Prince Show, a weekly variety program. Simon’s alter-ego Lucas Brickman (played by Hunter Lee Pataski), maintains a running commentary on the writing, fighting, and wacky antics which take place in the writers’ room. The writers grow up to become the likes of Mel Brooks, Woody Allen, Larry Gelbart and others who become legendary in television, movies and the Broadway stage. 

They are devoted to their boss, Max (Jonathan Heid), a comic genius, a tyrant, and a paranoiac with a heart of gold. But his penchant for tippling and popping too many pills is growing under the pressures of a rising McCarthyism, network executives, and sponsors who want him to cut back his show and staff because they fear his humor is too sophisticated for Middle America. 

The cast includes Ben Fye, Dave Clark, Greg Weible, Dean Stephens, Sue Meholick, Alyssa Wood, and Josh Alderton. Director Drew Gordon says that he’s enjoyed working with this talented cast, and looks forward to the show run. Gordon does stress that the show does have adult language, adding that this is not a show to bring the kids to. 

Newsweek Magazine called it …”One of Simon’s funniest…Comedy, Comedy all the way,” and the Wall Street Journal said, “Old style comedy: fast and furious.”

For reservations, call the Reitz Theater box office at 375-4CRI. Tickets are available at Rosie’s Book Shoppe on Midway Drive, Kohlhepp’s True Value Hardware, S & T Bank on Liberty Boulevard, and Catherine’s Cache on Main Street.

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