Arts and Entertainment

'Rumors' part of Centerstage's 'audience appeal' mission

For the Mirror

In December, Centerstage Theatre’s board of directors formalized the company’s new artistic policy, committing the Federal Way-based theater group to producing “innovative, accomplished productions of popular work,” and for new work to have “the widest possible audience appeal.”

With that in mind, Centerstage officials said, there can be little doubt that famed playwright Neil Simon’s “uproarious” farce, “Rumors,” fits the bill.

“Rumors” will be Centerstage’s next production, starting Feb. 18 at Knutzen Family Theater.

After a string of serious autobiographical plays inthe 1980s -–– “Brighton Beach Memoirs,” “Biloxi Blues” and “Broadway Bound” –– Simon went back to a lighter mood with “Rumors.” It’s called one of America’s most popular plays, having been performed in hundreds of productions throughout the country.

It premiered at the Broadhurst Theatre in New York City in 1988 to rave reviews and ran for 535 performances. Time magazine called it “an old-fashioned doorslamming, crockery-smashing farce.” Clive Barnes of the New York Post wrote, “Broadway hassomething to cheer about again ... This maze of mendacity is light, frothy and fun.”

The plot of “Rumors” builds like a Rube Goldberg invention: An event creating a domino effect of one disaster after another.

The story opens at the townhouse of New York City deputy mayor Charley Brock and his wife, Myra, who are celebrating their 10th wedding anniversary by inviting four couples over for dinner. The couple has a weird way of celebrating, though: The deputy mayor has taken a heavy dose of tranquilizers and attempted suicide. But he has only managed to shoot his earlobe.

To top it off, his wife is missing. As each invited couple arrives, they are told different stories about what’s happened to the deputy mayor.

For Centerstage, “Rumors” is directed by Cynthia White. The cast includes Mathew Ahrens, Bob Barnett, Eva Doak, Jane May, Jason Rose, Holly Slyter, Dave Tucker, Allison Schumacher, Heidi Weinrich and Dean Wilson.

“Rumors” will be presented Feb. 18 through March 6 at Knutzen Family Theater, 3200 SW. Dash Point Road. Showtimes will be 8 p.m. Friidays, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays.

Tickets can be ordered through Centerstage at 661-1444 or www.centerstagetheatre.com.

Centerstage has been rebounding sincen canceling its fall 2004 production of “Nunsense” in order to concentrate on an organizational and financial restructuring. Since then, the group has staged a murder-mystery fund-raiser at Twin Laks Golf and Country, presented a well-received version of “A Christmas Carol” at Knutzen, and received a matching grant from an anonymous donor.

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