“Leading Ladies” will open Friday at the ACT I Theatre Productions in Sumner.
The play, set in 1950s New England, follows Jack and Leo, two Shakespearian actors who want a change of pace and are in need of cash. They learn about a dying widow who wants to give her fortune away to two long-lost nephews.
The men plot to pose as her relatives and make off with the cash.
In a hilarious twist, the men discover the expected relatives aren’t nephews but nieces. Jack and Leo both find love interests as the story unfolds, but not without a few hurdles.
“Naturally various hijinks involving cross-dressing ensue,” said Ben Stahl, who plays Jack.
This will be Stahl’s first performance at ACT I Theatre, although he’s got plenty of leading roles under his belt.
Stahl and the play’s director, Zack Jennison, are college friends who share a love for theater. This will be the second ACT I production directed by Jennison, who is excited for the debut.
“It’s definitely a comedy,” Jennison said. “I think part of the reason (ACT I) chose it is this kind of comedy appeals to a wide audience.”
Jennison said the play isn’t just about men in women’s clothing. Amid the Adam’s apples and hairy legs in dresses, the play has its moments of depth.
“It’s not necessarily just, ‘Oh, there’s men dressing up as women, let’s laugh at them,’ ” Jennison said. “At the end of the day, it really is about their goals, their dreams, their aspirations ... (and wanting a) fulfilling life.”
“It just takes the age-old concept of men dressing up as women ... it kind of turns that idea on its head and fleshes out that comedic idea and really makes it unique,” Jennison said. “Pretty much anyone who would come to see this, or be dragged to see this, would find something to laugh at and enjoy.”
ACT I Theatre Productions produces a new play at its studio about every six weeks. Theater-goers also will have a chance to see “The Emperor’s New Clothes” and “Twelve Angry Men” in the coming months.
“Leading Ladies,” written by Ken Ludwig, with a special arrangement from Samuel French, will run Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through the end of this month.
Tickets are available at www.atheatrepro.com.
“Leading Ladies” will be presented at 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and at 2 p.m. Sundays this month. Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for students and senior citizens. Act 1 Theatre is located at 5814 152nd Ave. Court E., Suite 104, in Sumner, adjacent to the Fred Meyer parking lot. Tickets are available at www.atheatrepro.com.Emilie Thoreson is a student in the Media Lab at Pacific Lutheran University in Parkland.