PLAYERS CIRCLE THEATRE, Lee County’s newest professional theatre, is proud to announce its upcoming production of Neil Simon’s hilarious comedy- LAUGHTER ON THE 23RD FLOOR. This Broadway hit comedy presents Neil Simon’s early days in show business, when he worked as a jokes-smith for Sid Caesar’s YOUR SHOW OF SHOWS. Simon’s alter ego, Lucas, is stuck in a room with a bunch of the looniest comedy writers ever, based off Mel Brooks, Carl Reiner, Larry Gilbert and others. The writers consistently try to top each other with gags, all while competing for the attention of head mad man, Max Prince (Sid Caesar) who is contending with NBC brass, the red scare and his own addictions! Variety called it “The funniest comedy on Broadway in years and likely to remain the funniest comedy on Broadway for years”. Warning: this play contains Adult Language.
“I love this play for so many reasons,” says Producing Artistic Director Robert Cacioppo, who will also be directing. “First, it represents Neil Simon’s last great play. It’s also, besides being very funny, is about so much more. It’s about the early days of TV, when Caesar and his writers wrote a very smart comedy, a biting comedy. It was the precursor to SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE! What’s amazing is that Caesar gathered a group of writers that would become the greatest comic minds of the second half of the twentieth century. And they were all in the same room together. All young guys. Audiences will find that this a very smart play, also about how NBC wanted Caesar to dumb down the show to appeal to broader audiences in the mid-west, unlike the major metropolitan areas that first saw and made the show a hit in its first season. This also is a time of Joe McCarthy, when the Red Scare was at its height, creating an environment of fear in America. So, yes, it’s a comedy, but so much more!”
LAUGHTER ON THE 23RD FLOOR stars Matt Michael as Max Prince, the character based on Sid Caesar. Michael recently was featured in the Players Circle production of THE DINING ROOM. Jordan Bunshaft plays Ira, the hypochondriac comic genius based on Mel Brooks. Bunshaft is a native New Yorker and a graduate of Wagner College. Maximilian Koger plays Lucas, the narrator and alter ego of Neil Simon. Koger, from Asheville, NC, recently acted in BRIGHT STAR and GLASS MENAGERIE. Timothy Wilds, from Charlotte, NC, is a teacher and actor whose career spans opera, operetta, musical theatre, and theatre. Katie Pankow plays the only female writer on the staff, Carol. Pankow has been seen locally in GROUNDED (Theatre Conspiracy), NOISES OFF (BIG ARTS) and DON’T DRESS FOR DINNER (Broadway Palm). Joel Stigliano plays Kenny, based on a compilation of Carl Reiner and Larry Gilbart (MASH, TOOTSIE, A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM). Stigliano, holds an MFA from Ohio University, lives in NYC and recently completed the national tour of ELF THE MUSICAL. Natalie Brouwer was featured in Players Circle Inaugural production of HO HO HO THE CHRISTMAS SHOW. Shane Dinan, from Asheville recently played George Bailey in MIRACLE IN BEDFORD FALLS. Scott Thomson recently was featured in HARVEY at Theatre Conspiracy. Thomson first worked with Robert and Carrie Cacioppo in one of their first theatres on Captiva Island in 1990 in I’M NOT RAPPAPORT. Set Design is by Richard Crowell, lighting design by Travis C. Richardson and Costume Design by Megan Ann Richardson. Crowell, an MFA graduate of Southern Methodist University, has worked with the Cacioppos for over 26 years collaborating in over 50 shows together. The Richardsons are resident designers for Players Circle, where they recently designed THE DINING ROOM and HO HO HO THE CHRISTMAS SHOW.
LAUGHTER ON THE 23rd FLOOR begins discounted previews on Tuesday, February 11 at 8pm, Wednesday, February 12 at 2 & 8 pm, and Thursday and Friday, February 13 & 14 at 8pm. Opening night is Saturday, February 15 at 8pm and continues through March 8 with performances Tuesday through Saturday at 8 pm and Wednesdays and Sundays at 2pm. Preview pricing is $35. Regular tickets $50/$35 and same day rush seats $25. Box office is open Monday through Saturday 12 noon to 5pm and one hour before curtain. Call 1-239-800-3292 or order online at www.playerscircle.org. PLAYERS CIRCLE THEATRE is in residence at the SHELL FACTORY & NATURE PARK. Located at 16554 N. Cleveland Avenue, North Ft Myers, FL 33903.
About Players Circle Theatre
The Players Circle Theatre was developed by veterans of the Southwest Florida theatre movement, Carrie Lund Cacioppo and Robert Cacioppo. They have been the prominent faces of theatre in Lee County for over 35 years, starting the first professional theater in the county in 1985. In 1998, the Cacioppos created the Florida Repertory Theatre, the largest not-for-profit arts organization in Lee County history, which has garnered numerous accolades, including being named “One of America’s best regional theatres” by The Wall Street Journal. Players Circle Theatre is a professional black box theatre that provides Broadway-level entertainment. Online at: PlayersCircle.org.