Friday, May 30, 2014

Charley's Aunt Premiers tonight

The Whittier Community Theatre cast of Charley's Aunt
The Whittier Community Theatre presents the British farce, Charley's Aunt, beginning tonight, Friday, May 30th at 8 p.m. at the Center Theatre in Whittier, California.

 If you've never seen this show, now's the time!  It's a truly funny play and one of my all-time favorites.
Famed comedian Jack Benny had a starring role in the 1941 movie version
Charley's Aunt was written and first performed in 1892, premiering at the Theatre Royal, Bury St. Edmunds.  It was a tremendous success, breaking all historic records for plays of any kind.  It had an original London run of 1,466 performances.

It came to the U.S. in 1893 and was a success on Broadway, where it also had a very long run.  It has toured internationally and been adapted for films and musicals in the 100 plus years following its premier.

The original British show was produced by a former D'Oyly Carte Opera Company actor named W.S. Penley, who was a close friend of the author, playwright Brandon Thomas.

Penley Appeared in the principal role of Lord Fancourt Babberley.

W.S. Penley as Lord Fancourt Babberley in ordinary clothing

W.S. Penley as Lord Fancourt Babberley playing Charley's Aunt
The plot?

Jack Chesney and Charley Wykeham, two undergraduates at Oxford University, are in love--Jack with Kitty Verdun, ward of Stephen Spettigue the Oxford solicitor, and Charley with Amy Spettigue, the solicitor’s niece. However, neither knows quite how to express his love and his (hopeful) plans for the future to his girl—until Jack comes up with a plan: It just so happens that Charley’s aunt, a wealthy widow from Brazil (“where the nuts come from”) is visiting that very day. So, why not have a luncheon for the girls and Charley’s aunt? 

They invite their friend Lord Fancourt Babberley to entertain their aunt and everything seems to be in order.

But all plans go awry when the aunt, Donna Lucia d’ Alvadorez, telegraphs that she won’t be arriving for a few more days. Without the aunt as chaperone, Charley and Jack quickly realize the girls won’t come to lunch.  They quickly devise a hair-brained scheme to satisfy propriety by having Lord Babberley dress and pretend to be Charley's Aunt.  Things only get worse when first Jack's father arrives, then Mr. Spettigue - followed by Charley's real aunt!

This is a play where comic confusion reigns supreme.  And believe me, it is every bit as funny to us, in 2014, as it was in 1892!

Whittier Community Theatre presents 
Charley's Aunt 
Playing at the Center Theatre in Whittier 
May 30, 31, June 6, 7, 13, 14 at 8:00pm
Matinee on Sunday, June 8th at 2:30pm 

Directed by Roxanne Barker 
Produced by Gabe Puga  

Featuring the talents of:
Austin Sauer, Andrew Cerecedes, Kieran Flanagan, Jasmine West, Amanda Riisager, Nancy Tyler, Anthony Duke, Tim Heaton, Jim Gittelson, and Louisa Brazeau

Tickets are now on sale!  
Call (562) 696-0600 
for reservations 

or purchase tickets online 

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