By Alex Simmons
Coming to the Springville Center for the Arts next week is a 1950s semi-biographical comedy sure to provide 23 floors worth of laughs.
Written by Neil Simon, “Laughter on the 23rd Floor,” directed by Matt Boyle, tells the story of a group of writers in the early years of television who hysterically compete for the attention of Max Prince during his ongoing battle with NBC.
The story focuses on Neil Simon’s early years as a young writer for Sid Caesar’s “Your Show of Shows” and “Caesar’s Hour.” Rick Manzone, who plays Max Prince, is a “trained theater professional,” Boyle said. “This is not his first rodeo.”
The play primarily focuses on Max Prince, a comedy/variety show star and his writing crew. Auditions were held in October and the cast has been rehearsing for the past two months.
One actor was “pretty much off book on day one,” Boyle said, showing how much dedication the actors and actresses really have when it comes to performing at SCA.
“I’ve been thinking about this show for a number of years so we did a table read with the play reading committee,” he said. “We read multiple plays but I knew this was the one we needed to do.”
The cast of nine, comprised of seven men and two women, “work really well together,” Boyle said, adding that a show like this really brings out the humor in the cast.
“In between scenes, they are cracking jokes with each other,” he said. “When we did ‘Annie,’ I saw different people in the cast of ‘Annie’ and said a good play for them would be this play.”
The cast is very supportive of each other, and with that comes a great performance, he added.
Boyle said his goals with this show were to “make it realistic” and to “make it funny.”
The actors tend to help Boyle out and give him ideas of what they can do to make the show even funnier, he said.
“The comedy within this play is mostly physical comedy,” he explained. Some challenges have been faced when putting on this show with the set.
Since the show is based in the 1950s, “some of the furniture, and other set pieces” are hard to find, Boyle said.
Even though challenges have been faced, he said he has “two great producers, Jennifer L.S. Weber and Heather Svalina, and Kevin Kujawa, who works lights and sound.’
Boyle said he is grateful to have Kevin at his side, adding, “with Kevin it’s gonna work.”
He said you should see this show because “you’ll fall in love with the characters” and be able to relate to some of the “political aspects” of the show.
So come out and support the Springville Players as they have worked so hard to put on such a hilarious performance.
The cast consists of Arron Fisher as Lucas Brickman, Rick Manzone as Max Prince, Cory Golabek as Milt Fields, Charles Weber as Brian Doyle, Mark Mendola as Ira Stone, Erin Bellavia as Carol Wyman, Matt Walter as Kenny Franks, Brian Kujawa as Val Slotsky, and Ally Catalano as Helen.
The assistant director is Claire Boyle with Maggie Boyle as stage manager and assistant to the director.
Performances of “Laughter on the 23rd Floor” are set for Feb. 28 and March 1, 2, 15 and 16 at 7:30 p.m. and March 3 and 17 at 2 p.m.
The first show on Feb. 28 is Pay-What-You-Can-With-A-Can night. Attendees pay any donation amount when you bring a non-perishable food item.
Tickets are $12 for general admission, $10 for students and seniors and $8 for groups of 15 or more. Purchase tickets at www.springvillearts.org or at the door.