Dramateurs Conclude 83rd Season With THE FOREIGNER

by Patricia Bradford

The Dramateurs, Inc. conclude their 83rd season with the comedy THE FOREIGNER.

THE FOREIGNER is a fun, two-act comedy by American playwright Larry Shue. The story takes place in a fishing lodge in rural Tilghman County, Georgia where two Englishmen, Froggy and Charlie, arrive as guests. The shy Charlie agrees to accompany Froggy on the trip after his sick wife begs him to go. When people at the lodge try to talk to Charlie, however, he remains silent. Froggy claims that Charlie cannot talk because he is a “foreigner” from an exotic country, and does not understand English. Taking the explanation that he’s a non-English speaker as fact, the lodge’s guests quickly begin revealing their deepest, darkest secrets, and Charlie soon discovers scandals amongst some of the residents of the lodge.

The original Broadway production, featuring Shue as Froggy, opened November 1, 1984 and ran for 686 performances. The play received two Obie Awards and two Outer Critics Circle Awards, including Best New American Play and Best Off-Broadway Production. Since its original production, the play has become a staple of both professional and amateur theater. A 2004 revival of the play, performed by the Roundabout Theater Company, featured Matthew Broderick and Frances Sterhagen. Ben Brantley of the New York Times described the play as a “deliberately doltish comedy of improbabilities.”

The Dramateurs’ production, directed by Robert Marsch of Philadelphia, features a talented ensemble of performers from across the Delaware Valley. Patrick McGurk of Schwenksville portrays Froggy LeSueur, a cheerful British Army man with a flair for explosives. Kevin Walters of Jenkintown portrays Charlie, the shy foreigner who gains the confidence of the lodge guests. Rosemary Gehrlein of Norristown plays Betty Meeks, a widow who owns a resort lodge and mothers her guests. Stephen Waters of Norristown plays Reverend David Marshall Lee, who is more than he appears on the surface. Alexis Lee Ross of Collegeville is Catherine Simms, a pretty heiress going through an emotional time. Michael Tamin Yurcaba of Landsdowne is Owen Musser a superstitious and dangerous man who lives in the town. Micahel Rizzo is Ellard Simms, Catherine’s dim-witted brother.

THE FOREIGNER opens October 6 and runs October 7, 13 and 14 at the Barn Playhouse, located at 1700 Christopher Lane in Jeffersonville, PA, three miles west of Norristown. Curtain time is 8:00 pm. There is also a matinee performance Sunday, October 8 at 2:00 pm and a 7:30 pm performance on Thursday October 12. The Friday, October 13 performance features a special talk-back session with the director cast and crew. During this time, audience members can stay after the performance to ask questions about the production and learn about the process of creating a musical theater production.

Tickets are $17, with a $2 discount for seniors (65 and over) and students. Reservations can be made by visiting the theater’s website, www.barnplayhouse.org or by contacting the box office at (610) 539-BARN.

The Barn Playhouse, a theater housed in an historic 1793 building, is owned and operated by The Dramateurs, Inc., a 501(c)3 non-profit educational corporation. Since 1934, the group has pursued the goal that was laid out when it was organized, “To stimulate greater interest in dramatic arts in Norristown and its vicinity through the presentation of stage plays of various types.” The group has presented a summer season of plays at The Barn Playhouse every year since 1937.

Theater/Organization The Dramateurs, Inc. at the Barn Playhouse
Theater/Organization Website: http://www.barnplayhouse.org

Theater/Organization Address: 1700 Christopher Lane Jeffersonville, Pennsylvania 19403 (Map It)
Theater/Organization Phone: (610) 539-2276

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