Pioneer Theatre Company presents Laughing Stock, written by PTC Artistic Director Charles Morey, March 23 – April 7, 2012.
Originally produced by PTC in 2001, Morey's script has since been produced close to a hundred times around the country, and published by Dramatists Play Service. It is Morey's hilarious and affectionate love letter to the world of theatre, based on his experiences with the Peterborough Players years ago. In Laughing Stock, a rustic New England summer theatre called "The Playhouse" schedules a repertory season of Dracula, Hamlet and Charley's Aunt. With little in the way of time or resources, the well-intentioned company soon finds itself overmatched, and comic mayhem ensues.
When it premiered at PTC, The Salt Lake Tribune said, "There's a priceless scene in Laughing Stock in which a summer stock production of Dracula disintegrates into chaos on opening night. Gothic horror becomes high comedy amid misplaced technical cues, forgotten lines, wrong entrances and eccentric acting…the large audience howled with glee as they watched the mayhem unfold…written with a light and sure hand, and acted with a precise blend of earnestness and camp."
About subsequent productions throughout the country, critics have said, "[Laughing Stock is] hysterically funny...and along the way to its sweet finale you can fall in love with theatre all over again," (The Sarasota Herald-Tribune). The Nashua Telegraph said of the comedy, "I cried, I choked, I fell into a coughing fit, I cried some more...can't help but love this play." The Monadnock Ledger said, "Laughing Stock will indeed have you laughing in your seat if not rolling in the aisles…It's hard to imagine anyone whose funny bone wouldn't be tickled by this one…You don't have to be a theatre insider to love the play…it's a hoot…it's a blast…it's funny, it's silly, it tells a great story." And the Keene Sentinel said, "Scene after scene, beat after beat, Laughing Stock piles on the laughs…every single piece crackles with successful wit and abundant humor."
CHARLES MOREY, in his last season as Artistic Director of Pioneer Theatre Company, directs the production. Morey comments about his play, "They say 'write what you know.' After forty-two years in the professional theatre, and twenty-five summers doing "summer stock," I know this world.Laughing Stock is (I hope) a very funny and occasionally sentimental look at the profession in which I have spent my life. Everyone in the theatre has his or her own "Playhouse," the place where there was never enough of anything: time, staff, money, and sometimes simply not enough talent or skill; where sometimes the doors fell off their hinges, the sound cues ran backwards, and the character man forgot his lines; but where you gave yourself over wholly to the making of plays, to telling stories in the dark on a summer night and along the way made a little family as well for a few months. It is those places, and especially those people, this play celebrates. I hope what finally comes through Laughing Stock is a genuine affection and respect for the mostly honorable and sometimes inspired fools who inhabit this profession." Morey has directed over eighty productions for PTC since he joined the theatre in 1984, including the world premieres of Find and Sign, Touch(ed) and In, and the first regional productions of Les Misérables, The Producers, andThe Vertical Hour. He is a Fellow of the MacDowell Colony.
Jack Koenig plays GorDon Page, the overly ambitious and always harried Artistic Director at "The Playhouse." On Broadway, Koenig has worked as stand-by for Scar in The Lion King, and inThe Pitmen Painters and Accent on Youth. He has appeared off-Broadway in Incident at Vichy,The Cocktail Party, The Grand Manner and Tabletop, for which he received a Drama Desk Award.Regional credits include Race, Private Lives, Heartbreak House and the world premiere Clementine in the Lower 9 at TheatreWorks in California. He last appeared with PTC in A Christmas Story.
Craig Bockhorn plays "The Playhouse's" penny-pinching "Producing Executive Administrative Director," Craig Conlin. Bockhorn's Broadway credits include: On Golden Pond (also the Kennedy Center and National Tour), The Lonesome West and Prelude to a Kiss. Other New York credits include: King Lear, The Seagull, Kit Marlowe (Public Theatre), The Hope Zone and The Truth-Teller(Circle Rep.) He returns to PTC after appearing here in many shows, most recently Our Town, A Midsummer Night's Dream and Julius Caesar.