CORVALLIS - A classic American comedy first produced in 1937 and later turned into a hit movie by the Marx Brothers will be presented by Oregon State University Nov. 11-13 and Nov. 18-20 at OSU's Withycombe Hall theater.
"Room Service," written by John Murray and Allen Boretz, remains a popular comedy as a film and on stage. The OSU production of the classic will be the first show in a season of comedies presented by the University Theatre program.
The script of "Room Service" resonates with the zany antics and dialogue of Groucho, Harpo, Chico, et al, according to Marion O. Rossi Jr., who will direct the OSU production.
"We're focusing on capturing their comical essence and style without copying their unique characters and deportment," Rossi said.
The play is set in New York in the late 1930s. Producer Gordon Miller (played by Craig Marianno) is trying to put together a Broadway production of a new play, "Godspeed," without any money to pay the cast and crew, or related production costs. Through finagling, obfuscation and outright lying, he keeps rehearsals going for weeks while trying to arrange for financial backing.
His deception is aided by the convenience of lodging the cast and crew in the White Way Hotel, managed by the producer's brother-in-law, Joseph Gribble (Dan Fisher). As the play opens, however, Miller's scheme begins to unravel.
Complicating matters are the arrival of a hotel executive, Gregory Wagner (Steve Harvey) in town to straighten out the books; and "Godspeed" author Leo Davis (Nick King), desperate to receive his playwright's fee.
In desperation, producer Miller enlists Davis, "Godspeed" director Harry Binion (Ryan Manderfeld), and Miller's assistant Faker Englund (David Radford) to help carry out his hilarious subterfuge. Along the way, Miller involves actress Christine Marlowe (Jenney Lee), a Russian immigrant and actor named Sasha Smirnoff (Justin Lundy), and the hotel manager's secretary (Amy Alexander).
Through a series of silly, desperate and hilarious scenes, the gang manages to pull off the staging of "Godspeed" to rave reviews, make a bundle of money, pay off all debts, and have everyone live happily ever after.
"Room Service" is directed by Rossi. William Earl, the scenographer, designed the play's sets, costumes and lights. Richard George is technical director and Jennifer Backstrand, stage manager.
Tickets for the play are priced at $8 for general admission, $5 for seniors and $4 for students. They may be reserved by calling 541-737-2784 starting Nov. 8. Season tickets are available now.
The Withycombe Hall theater is located at 30th Street and Campus Way in Corvallis. All performances will begin at 7:30 p.m. The show on Friday, Nov. 19, will be sign language-interpreted for the hearing impaired.
The cast of "Room Service" follows:
- ALOHA: Eric Chatfield, a sophomore in biology, as Timothy Hogarth.
- BEAVERTON: Amy Alexander, a freshman in English literature, as Hilda Manney; Conrad Buck, a freshman in business, as Dr. Glass.
- CORVALLIS: Jen Waters, a senior in theater arts, as a theatrical assistant; Jenney Lee, a senior in theater arts, as Christine Marlowe; Steve Harvey, a senior in business, as Gregory Wagner; Jim Harvey, an adjunct faculty member, as Sen. Blake.
- COTTAGE GROVE: Nick King, a senior in theater arts, as Leo Davis.
- EUGENE: Monte Ludington, a junior in business, as Simon Jenkins.
- HOOD RIVER: Brad Gaylord, a junior in liberal arts, as a bank messenger.
- PHILOMATH: Daniel Mohle, a senior in home economics and education, as a bellhop.
- PORTLAND: Justin Lundy (97229 zip code), a senior in computer engineering, as Sasha Smirnoff; J.J. Shurtleff (97225), a sophomore in liberal arts, as a maid.
- SHERWOOD: Ryan Manderfeld, a senior in theater arts, as Harry Binion.
- WARRENTON: Carole Chase, a sophomore in liberal arts, as a maid.
JUNEAU: Dan Fisher, a senior in forest recreation, as Joseph Gribble.
FAIRFIELD: Craig Marianno, a doctoral student in nuclear engineering, as Gordon Miller.
MILL CREEK: Dave Radford, a senior in political science, as Faker Englund.