In Play On! Comedy is Serious On Stage Business

“Murder Most Foul may be one of the worst productions ever written… Fortunately, it’s supposed to be that way. The British mystery is a play-within-a-play and the focus of Play On!—a gag-filled farce by Rick Abbot who fashions his play around the often slapstick backstage happenings of a plucky community theatre group. The end result is something akin to “Noises Off,” the iconic British farce,” says Ritz Board Theatrical Chair Doug Carey about the Ritz Theater’s latest comedic performance.
One plucky community theatre is about to produce a show called Murder Most Foul, a new “murder mystery play” with the same title as an Agatha Christie novel but with no relation whatsoever. The director/theatre manager, Gerry, thought producing the play was a good idea since the inexperienced playwright has agreed to let the company perform the show for no charge. However, she had no idea what disasters awaited her: the show is hilariously amateur, the “murder mystery” plot doesn’t really have a murder, and to top it off the playwright keeps changing the story and script only two days from its premiere. Even the sound effects reap their share of laughter. “Play On! is a hilarious love letter to community theater,” says director Jenny Congiardo.

This metadrama begins quite normally. Actors meet for their scheduled rehearsal date at the theater, and for a few minutes at least, you’re thinking easy-peasy. But that’s when the fun begins.

The cast includes: Gerry, the Director played by Lisa Davidson Hines; Phyllis, the playwright played by Sally Green; Aggie, the stage manager played by Tianna Stevens; Louie, the lighting/sound/stage tech played by Max Wadley; Henry, the established character actor playing Lord Dudley (married to Polly) played by Adam Cornett; Polly, the established character actress playing Lady Margaret (married to Henry) played by Amy Parnell; Violet, the dim witted access playing the ingénue Diana played by Cayman Stranahan; Billy, the spirited actor playing the young man of fortune, Steven played by Conor McNamara; Saul, the established actor playing the villain Dr. Rex Forbes played by Joshua Hernandez; Smitty, the inexperienced teen playing Doris the maid played by Emma Wadley; and Swings (understudies) played by Andy Otwell, Risa Katz, and Taliyah Meyers.

Tickets are now available at with discounts of $2 for military and seniors, $7 for actors and theatrical professionals, and $3/$5 for groups over 10 persons when patrons call the office at 407-321-8111 for tickets. The theater is located at 201 Magnolia Ave., in downtown Sanford.

Sponsored by Financial Services of Central Florida, Inc. and in part by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Arts & Culture, and by the Florida Council on Arts and Culture.


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