Laughter on the 23rd Floor

Come see all of the ridiculous comedy and harried mayhem found within the comedy writers’ room of a 1950’s variety program. Based on Simon’s own experience writing for Sid Caesar’s “Show of Shows” along side Carl Reiner, Mel Brooks, Norman Lear and Woody Allen, the play is brash, fast paced and uproariously funny. The basic plot is simple: while his writing staff frantically scrambles to top each other with jokes and gags while competing for the attention of star madman Max Prince, Prince has a problem – NBC needs to cut costs and one person will be let go in each department. The comedic melodrama unfolds in the writers’ room in this love letter to the world of 1950’s television.

Directing “Laughter on the 23rd Floor” this month at Church Hill Theatre (April 9-25) is Queen Anne’s County resident Bob Chauncey, who also directed the successful 2008 season production of Noel Coward’s Bluthe Spirit.” Chaucey has appeared on stage as well in many productions, including the roles of the ghost of John Barrymore in “I Hate Hamlet,” and Feliz Unger in “The Odd Couple,” among others. He is also one of the founders of the new Eastern Shore theatre group Motivational Theatre.

Executive Producing Director Steven J. Arnold explains that Neil Simon’s play was chosen because of several factors: the name value of its author, the quality of the script, and the marketability of those things. “We felt that the public still supports the work of Neil Simon, widely considered to be one of America’s all-time leading comedy writers, even if they are a bit weary now of some of his older classics,” says Arnold.

CHT doesn’t intend to produce a concept-driven production of the script that changes the nature of it in any way. “This play has stronger language than Simon is usually known for, but that can be explained as his way of showing the genuine work space he worked in and the language is used for comedic effect. We are committed to portraying the work as written,” explains Arnold.

Simon’s play follows a comedy writer’s room of a 1950s variety program, which is based upon his own experience writing for Sid Caesar’s “Show of Shows” with other famous writes including Carl Reiner, Mel Brooks, Norman Lear, and Woody Allen.

Friday, April 09, 2010 – Sunday, April 25, 2010
Fri. & Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.
Church Hill Theatre, Church Hill
Fri. & Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.