Albert Lea Community Theatre to present Neil Simon comedy

Published 9:10 am Saturday, January 24, 2009

When audiences come to see Albert Lea Community Theatre’s third show of the season, it will seem like they are really seeing three mini-plays.

“Each act is like its own little show,” said Director Gordy Handeland.

The Neil Simon comedy, “The Last of the Red Hot Lovers,” is the story of Barney Cashman, who married his high school sweetheart and wants to have one sweeping extra-marital fling in his tranquil, faithful marriage before life passes him by. On three different afternoons, he brings women to his mother’s apartment while she’s at the hospital doing work. No matter how hard he tries, Barney is a decent fellow who just can’t succeed in sinning.

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“He’s never been in a fist-fight and he wants to spice up his life,” the director said.

“Down deep, I think a lot of people can put themselves in Barney’s place. They think they’re missing something,” Handeland said. “The grass may be greener on the other side, but lots of times they hurt themselves on the barbed-wire fence.”

In each act, Barney, played by Jay Paul, is different, and so are the women he has come to the apartment.

In the first act, a late afternoon in November, Barney meets Elaine, played by Lisa Sturtz. Elaine is a bored, rich housewife who has had lots of affairs. She likes cigarettes, whiskey and other people’s husbands.

In the second act, a late afternoon in August, he meets Bobbi, played by Carrie Boyer-Olvera. Bobbi is an actress friend who turns out to be madder than a hatter.

“I got the comedy part,” Boyer-Olvera said with a smile. “I’ve never had a funny part before.”

In the third act, he meets Jeannette, played by Lori Larsen. She’s his wife’s best friend, and a staunch moralist.

What: Albert Lea Community Theatre’s “Last of the Red Hot Lovers.”

Where: Marian Ross Performing Arts Center, 147 N. Broadway Ave.

When: Feb. 5-7 and Feb. 11-14 at 7:30 p.m.

How: Call the box office at 377-4371. The box office opens for season ticket holders on Thursday and for all others on Monday, Feb. 2.

“Her husband had an affair and she’s thinking about revenge,” Handeland said.

The director said he really enjoys Neil Simon plays, but has never had the opportunity to be in one or direct one before this.

Paul said he auditioned for the play because it is a Neil Simon work. “He’s always good,” he said.

Handeland said the play was chosen specifically for this time slot in the season. It runs Feb. 5-7 and Feb. 11-14. All performances are at 7:30 p.m.

“I think it’s going to be a great date play and chick flick,” Boyer-Olvera said.

Steve Kinney is designing the set. Joann Schwartz is designing costumes, Jody Ellertson is doing publicity and Kris Bartley is the stage manager.

Meet the actors.

The box office opens for season ticket holders on Thursday. The box office opens for all others on Monday, Feb. 2. The box office phone number is 377-4371.