'Suite Surrender' farce reunites 2 Apple Hill Playhouse veterans
Apple Hill Playhouse whisks its audiences back in time to the 1940s with “Suite Surrender,” a celebrated farce by Michael McKeever that reunites two Apple Hill veterans — Thom McLaughlin and Pat Beyer.
Beyer, best known to Apple Hill patrons as the owner and executive producer of the Delmont community theater, returns to the stage after a decade to portray Mrs. Everette P. Osgood, a society matron whom she describes as the personification of a socialite.
“She is kind of quirky, star-struck and mad about the military. She raises funds as well as a little hell,” Beyer says.
Beyer was lured back to the spotlight when McLaughlin agreed to direct the comedy.
“I had read the script several years ago but waited to schedule it until I found the director with the right stuff to pull it off,” she says. “Thom is the right fit for farce.”
McLaughlin returns to Apple Hill after nearly 20 years and says he has fond memories of directing and performing in shows there.
“Apple Hill is a theater that functions as a community theater with professional ethics and integrity,” he says. “Some of my best has been produced at Apple Hill.”
The director says “Suite Surrender” pays homage to the classic comedies of the '30s and '40s, with elements of the styles of comedy greats such as Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, Bud Abbott and Lou Costello, Buster Keaton, Carole Lombard, Margaret Dumont and the Marx Brothers.
The story focuses on what happens when two Hollywood divas — who are embroiled in an ongoing feud with each other — show up at the luxurious Palm Beach Royale Hotel and are mistakenly assigned to the same suite.
“It is a true farce with doors slamming, eccentric divas, overwrought and confused bumbling employees, overzealous lovers and a dog with a nervous condition,” McLaughlin says.
Beyer says the Apple Hill production features elegant furnishings, period music “and costumes to die for.”
Her memorable roles in the past include Joanne in “Company,” the first role she did at Apple Hill, and Rosemary in “Picnic,” Grace in “Bus Stop,” Olive in “The Odd Couple” (female version) and Dottie in “Noises Off.”
The cast of “Suite Surrender” also includes Craig Soich, Joette Salandro, Briana Downs, Alexandra Swartz, Rick Dutrow, Allison Florio, Stephen Young and Stephen Toth. Nick Lenz is stage manager.
Candy Williams is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.