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Where  There'$  A  Will

April 8 to May 6, 2017

Where There'$ A Will 

A New Comedy by Jeffrey Sanzel

What happens when a group of down-andout show folk are given the chance to each inherit half a million dollars? The answer is this original comedy WHERE THERE’$ A WILL. Theatre buff Hiram Cedrickson—the Potato King—has left this motley crew the opportunity of a lifetime. But the only way they can receive this fortune is if they put on his play—EXACTLY as he wrote it … Thwarted at every turn by Cedrickson’s gold-digging fourth wife and an ironclad will that locks them into the LETTER of the script, this disparate and desperate company struggles to triumph over every outrageous obstacle! WHERE THERE’$ A WILL is a hilarious yet poignant peek behind the theatrical curtain.

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FIOS Video - Meet The Cast

 
Cast

Cast

Armando de Sica   Steve Ayle
 Marge Abercorn   Marci Bing
Ludlow McPherson   Michael Butera
Geraldine Cedricson    Carol Carota
Allison Langland   Jessica Contino
Emma Willard-Powell    Ginger Dalton
Lucinda Cedricson   Susan Emory
Helen Stewart Sari Feldman
Hiram Cedricson    Jack Howell
Regina Cedricson    Joan Howell
Eugene Hart    Skyler Quinn Johnson
Hazel Fine    Maryellin Kurtz
Lavinia St. John    Phyllis March
Vivian Ash   Linda May
Sebastian Mansfield   Steve McCoy
 Monica Parrish   Maryellen Molfetta
Evelyn Wake   Ruthie Pincus

Scenic Design   RANDALL PARSONS
Costume Design   CHAKIRA DOHERTY
Lighting Design   ROBERT W. HENDERSON, JR.
Assistant Director   ANDREW MARKOWITZ
Stage Manager PETER CASDIA
Directed by   JEFFREY SANZEL
Schedule
Thu Fri Sat Sun
    4/8
8pm
4/9
3pm
  4/14
8pm
4/15
8pm
 
  4/21
8pm
4/22
8pm
4/23
3pm
4/27
8pm
4/28
8pm
4/29
8pm
4/30
7pm
5/4
8pm
  5/5
8pm
5/6
8pm
 
Behind the Curtain with WHERE THERE’$ A WILL - Sun. April 23 @5pm.
Wed. Matinee: May 3@ 2pm
Prices

Adults $35
Seniors (65+) $28
Students (13+) $28
Children (5-12) $20
(under 5 not permitted)

Photos

Scenes from Where There'$ A Will

Theater Talk with Jeffrey Sanzel

Read The Times Beacon Record interview With Jeffrey Sanzel

Reviews

Read The Broadway World review of Where There'$ A Will

Read The Times Beacon Record review of Where There'$ A Will

Read the Dan's Papers review of Where There'$ A Will

Read the Smithtown Matters review of Where There'$ A Will

Newsday

PLAY-WITHIN-A-PLAY IS DELIGHTFUL TOUR DE FARCE
April 12, 2017
by Steve Parks

If the theme of “A Chorus Line” was “What I Did for Love”—love of theater—the theme of “Where There’$ a Will” is “What I Did for Dough.”

There’s a rich history of theater making fun of itself—most uproariously in Michael Frayn’s “Noises Off” and now on Broadway with “The Play That Goes Wrong.” “Where There’$ a Will” by Jeffrey Sanzel—making its profes-sional debut at Theatre Three—asks us to sus-pend skepticism about plot plausibility while a delightful cast runs with it.

First, we must accept Hiram Cedricson, aka “the Potato King,” a lover of theater. His last will and testament, read by his lawyer (resolute Linda May) to Hiram’s fourth wife, her beau and the prospective cast and crew for the Pota-to King’s one and only play, provides that each participant will inherit a half-million bucks if they’ll stage his play—word for word, no alter-ations in the script, stage directions, costumes or props. Straying by one comma or hairpiece strand will result in the estate reverting to the widow, a trophy wife who married Hiram for the fortune that would be wasted on these “losers.”

But Hiram never hired a proofreader much less a dramaturge. In the first reading by his deter-mined-to-succeed director-designate (Jessica Contino), we learn that he forgot to supply a title, lost three pages of dialogue and assigned rival players to the same role.

Husband-and-wife Jack and Joan Howell as the first Mr. and Mrs. Cedricson, inspired by The
Muppets’ Stalter and Waldorf, are joined by Carol Carota as another late wife, in providing acerbic Greek chorus commentary delivered from a balcony, flanked on Randall Parson’s stage-onstage set by the widow and lover-boy (Susan Emory and Steve Ayle as a pair who deserve each other).

A cast led by delicious over-the-top has-beens in mistakenly shared roles—an actress played by Phyllis March and a hoofer by Mary Ellin Kurtz—must deliver each line as typo-ed by Hiram, as in “wonderfu[g].” A romance enact-ed in hilarious triplicate by Steve McCoy and Maryellen Molfetta gets slapstick granny/grandson support by Ginger Dalton and Skyler Quinn Johnson. Marci Bing as the accompa-nist, comically resplendent in her Carmen Mi-randa get-up (Chakira Doherty’s costumes, Tim Peierls’ song “Don’t Fold”), is divertingly abetted by stagehands (Ruthie Pincus and Mi-chael Butera) and the hag actress’ gofer (Sari Feldman).

“Where There’$ a Will” there’s a grand new farce.

WHAT Where There'$ A Will
WHEN | WHERE Through May 6
Theatre Three, 412 Main St., Port Jefferson
TICKETS 631-928-9100, theatrethree.com


Newsday
old play gets new life
a farce for good

By Steve Parks, April 6, 2017

Jeffrey Sanzel was an 18-year-old high school kid in Rochester when he wrote “Where There’$ a Will,” making its professional premiere Saturday night at Theatre Three in Port Jefferson.

The play was produced in 1985 by a teen drama group and the script languished in a drawer for 30 years until a director of an Ohio youth ensemble who appeared in the Rochester production asked Sanzel if he still had a copy. After much revision, it was presented in 2015. “I had nothing to do with it, other than writing the play,” Sanzel says. “It was very illuminating to see what works and what doesn’t.”

Looking for a comedy to perform in Theatre Three’s following season, Sanzel, executive artistic director of the company — best known for his annual adaptation of “A Christmas Carol” starring himself as Scrooge — passed the manuscript around. “Everyone was onboard,” he recalls, adding, “It’s kind of daunting. My name is on it three times — author, director and producer. There’s no place to hide.”

OLDIES BUT GOODIES

“Where There’$ a Will” reflects Sanzel’s early and enduring love of theater — especially sprawling, old-fashioned  comedies by George Kaufman and Moss Hart (“You Can’t Take It With You,” “The Man Who Came to Dinner”). Like those classics, “Will” features a large cast (17) that is now prohibitively expensive to produce on Broadway with few exceptions — among them the recent revival of “The Front Page” starring Nathan Lane.

“I have no illusions,” says Sanzel, “Public Theater won’t be knocking on my door. But it might have a future in high schools and community theaters where they like to give as many people a chance to shine as possible.”

“Where There’$ a Will” is a farce in the vintage mold. “You have to buy the basic premise,” he says.  “Then everything that follows will fall in line.”

The premise of Sanzel’s farce is a ghastly play written by a potato farmer. “In his will, he leaves a half-million dollars to each of 10 theater acquaintances,” Sanzel says. “But they must produce his play, word for word — no changes — or the money goes to his fourth wife. The widow, of course, will do anything to keep the play from being produced as stipulated in the will.”

REVISE AWAY

Theatre Three board president Andrew Markowitz is Sanzel’s assistant director “because I needed an objective voice.” Also, the cast — “my A team,” Sanzel calls them — freely offers suggestions. “We’ve made revisions at every single rehearsal,” Sanzel says. “One night we made 16 changes.

“This is not my first time at the rodeo,” he says, noting that he’s written, produced and/or directed more than 125 children’s plays as well as educational touring productions such as “From the Fires: Voices of the Holocaust” and a musical revue, “1968: Rock the World,” which he co-wrote with the late Ellen Michelmore.

Still, he says, “I’ve learned not to fall in love with every line I write.”