Share This Page

Stage Right's season-ending farce makes use of Fox Chapel area's love of fairway

| Wednesday, May 1, 2013, 8:41 p.m.
Jason Bridge | Valley News Dispatch
Justin, portrayed by Jared LoAlbo, attempts to help Louise, portrayed by Cami Needle, putt as (L-R) Henry Bingham, portrayed by Bill Crean; Pamela, portrayed by Renee Ruzzi-Kern; Muriel, portrayed by Karen Beeken; and Dickie, portrayed by Joe Eberle, during a rehearsal for Stage Right Community Theatre's season-ending comedy, 'The Fox on the Fairway,' at the Boyd Community Center in O'Hara Township on Wednesday, April 24, 2013.
Jason Bridge | Valley News Dispatch
Pamela, portrayed by Renee Ruzzi-Kern and Henry Bingham, portrayed by Bill Crean, dance to a tune during a rehearsal for Stage Right Community Theatre's season-ending comedy, 'The Fox on the Fairway', at the Boyd Community Center in O'Hara.
Jason Bridge | Valley News Dispatch
Justin, portrayed by Jared LoAlbo, proposes to Louise, portrayed by Cami Needle, during a rehearsal for Stage Right Community Theatre's season-ending comedy, 'The Fox on the Fairway,' at the Boyd Community Center in O'Hara.
Jason Bridge | Valley News Dispatch
Justin, portrayed by Jared LoAlbo, attempts to get in the good graces of Louise, portrayed by Cami Needle, as Henry Bingham, rear, portrayed by Bill Crean, coached him along during a rehearsal for Stage Right Community Theatre's season-ending comedy, 'The Fox on the Fairway', at the Boyd Community Center in O'Hara.
Jason Bridge | Valley News Dispatch
Louise, left, portrayed by Cami Needle, and Pamela, portrayed by Renee Ruzzi-Kern, share a discussion during a rehearsal for Stage Right Community Theatre's season-ending comedy, 'The Fox on the Fairway', at the Boyd Community Center in O'Hara.
Jason Bridge | Valley News Dispatch
Muriel, right, portrayed by Karen Beeken, and Dickie, portrayed by Joe Eberle, act out a scene during a rehearsal for Stage Right Community Theatre's season-ending comedy, 'The Fox on the Fairway,' at the Boyd Community Center in O'Hara Township on Wednesday, April 24, 2013.
Bill Ivins
Bill Ivins created this promotional poster for the play 'The Fox on the Fairway' that Stage Right will present starting May 2, 2013.

There's a good reason why Stage Right Community Theatre is drawn to award-winning American playwright Ken Ludwig's work, Stage Right's president and artistic director Bill Ivins says.

“His plays are funny,” he says. “The writing is fast-paced and clever, with nice twists and comic absurdity. There are mistaken identities, quick wit, sweet innuendo, lots of door slamming and silly costumes.”

The situations in his stories usually spiral wildly out of control, but somehow they always seem to wind up being resolved with a happy ending, he says.

“The guy usually gets the girl and everyone else gets what they deserve. What's not to like?,” the Indiana Township resident says.

All of this explains why the O'Hara theater company has chosen another Ludwig farce, “The Fox on the Fairway,” billed as “an uproariously funny comedy about love and golf,” to end its season on an upbeat note.

It will be staged at 8 p.m. May 2 to 4 and May 9 to 11 at Boyd Community Center, O'Hara.

“While it takes place at a golf club, it deals with greater themes such as love, romance and believing in yourself. It's a sheer joy to watch,” says director Teresa Trich of White Oak, who also is director of operations at Quantum Theatre, Pittsburgh.

Although the play is set in present day, the play has been described as Ludwig's tribute to the great English farces of the 1930s and '40s.

“Ken Ludwig's goal is to make this play as relatable to each audience that sees it as possible,” Trich says. “After reading the script, it was very clear that the story could be set in our own backyard. It seemed natural to play upon our rich ties to golf here in the Fox Chapel area.”

Ivins, the producer, contacted Ludwig's representatives to ask permission to change the names of the two rival golf clubs in the script from the Quail Valley Country Club and Crouching Squirrel to the very real Pittsburgh Field Club and Fox Chapel Golf Club.

“They are practically across the street from one another,” Ivins says.

Ludwig approved the request if the two local golf clubs would give written permission, which they did. “In no way do the characters of this play represent real people from either club, nor is the story line based on actual events,” Ivins says. “We just thought it would be fun to localize the setting of this farce by using real places, right down the road from our performance space in O'Hara.”

In this story, the Pittsburgh Field Club and Fox Chapel Golf Club battle for bragging rights, and money, as Henry Bingham, director of the Field Club, discovers that the talented golfer he thought would play for his club has switched sides, having been recruited by his counterpart and opponent, the cocky and arrogant Dickie. The huge bet Bingham had foolishly wagered is now likely to be lost.

Mayhem ensues as Justin, the newly hired hand at the Field Club, who is in love with Louise, the waitress at the club, gets into an argument with her, which jeopardizes plans to win the tournament.

Anyone who enjoys a “good throwback farce” will have fun, says Cami Needle of Squirrel Hill, who plays the “ditzy” Louise. “I'm channeling Karen from ‘Mean Girls,'” she says of her preparations.

Jared LoAlbo says he's been watching Three Stooges shorts and clips from “The Honeymooners” in preparation for his role as Justin Hicks. “Playing him is a ton of fun. He is a bit of a screw up, an excellent golfer and very lucky,” he says.

The Verona resident, who is founder of Food for Groundlings, a Shakespeare theater troupe, says he has never taken on a role like this. He calls Justin “a cartoonlike character.”

Renee Ruzzi-Kern of South Fayette Township, portraying diva Pamela Peabody, says she is a huge fan of Ludwig, having performed in two of his other plays, “Moon Over Buffalo” and “Lend Me a Tenor,” two of her favorite roles. “I love the craziness and unknown factors in farces,” she says. “The challenge is the timing issues, which have to be perfect to deliver a quality show. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with Teresa, our director, and a very talented cast.”

Bill Crean (Henry Bingham) of Pittsburgh, making his Stage Right debut, adds praise for the stage crew “for a fantastic job of creating our own little Field Club.”

“It's very hard to stage such a big world in our space,” Trich says.

Crean says anyone who has experienced a friendly rivalry in any sport will enjoy “The Fox on the Fairway.” “Some teams and players find a way to win; some, let's say, bend the rules a little,” he says.

His rival is Dickie Bell (Joe Eberle of Ross), director of the competing club.

“Bill has been a great scene partner. It's hard keeping a straight face in our scenes because we're so nasty to each other while trying to give the appearance of being nice,” says Eberle, a Stage Right veteran.

Eberle says he is not a golfer in real life. “I used to play, and I got worse every time, so I stopped,” he says. The actor, who also is a professional comedian in real life, adds, “I shot a 74 once, but I cut it down to 68 for the second hole.”

Rex Rutkoski is a staff writer for T rib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4664 or rrutkoski@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.