An ordinary shoe salesman finds out that as the sole surviving relative of his uncle, he's first in line to inherit his uncle's millions. The catch? He must take his deceased uncle with him in a weeklong vacation to Monte Carlo.
This is the premise of the musical "Lucky Stiff" by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, onstage at Hudson Players, and the result is nearly nonstop laughs as the straight-laced Harry attempts the weeklong jaunt.
"You don't often see a musical farce," said director Rich Jagunic. "This is a good cast, an extremely talented group of people."
Generally if you say an actor's performance is dead, that's an insult; but for Mark Moore, who plays the "lucky stiff" is a sort of compliment.
"It was a totally different acting experience," said Moore, an Aurora resident. "During the second act, I was concentrating on not coughing. You become very aware of your breathing."
But just because he plays a dead guy in a wheelchair doesn't mean he doesn't use physical comedy.
"I'm very dependent on the other actors to bump or move me," he said. "Then I can do my ragdoll routine. It's a lot of fun."
Brian Keith of Cuyahoga Falls plays Harry Witherspoon, the hapless shoe salesman saddled with the task of taking his departed uncle to Monte Carlo.
"I only knew bits and pieces of the show before I auditioned," said Keith, who makes his debut at the theater with the musical. "I have done more straight shows than musicals, so this was a switch. I have had a wonderful time with the show. It's a fun cast and a fun theater."
The idea of carting around a corpse through Europe is fraught with (hilarious) complications. Adding to the fun are the zany cast of characters, brought to life by a talented cast which does well with the rapid-pace comedy.
Brittany Smile plays Annabel Glick, a representative from a dog shelter who is next in line to inherit should Harry fail to meet the requirements of the will. She follows with (pardon the pun) dogged determination, mindful that the fate of hundreds of dogs -- and her job -- are on the line. Wendy Schantz plays Rita La Porta, a nearsighted, trigger-happy woman eager to get her hands on the millions, which she believes are hers. Rita is assisted by her brother Vincent, played by Sonny Sonnhalter, who very reluctantly follows her through Europe. Gary Maher plays the affable Luigi Gaudi, who always seems to be present on Harry's journey.
Holly Reimer, Kathy Steiner, Mike Guffey and Brian Pichola play various roles in the show.
Ticket and show information
"Lucky Stiff" can be seen through March 1. Performances start at 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and at 2 p.m. on Sundays.
Tickets are $14 general admission and $12 for students and seniors. Call 330-655-8522 or visit www.hudsonplayers.com for details or to make reservations.
The theater is collaborating with Hudson's Restaurant on the Green to offer patrons a dinner and show option. For $62, two people can enjoy dinner at Hudson's Restaurant before the show (including an appetizer) before heading to the theater.
Available on select performances, dinner and show reservations must be made by the Tuesday prior to the upcoming weekend. Patrons are asked to arrive at Hudson's Restaurant on the Green at 6:15 on their selected show night.
Dinner and show ticket reservations (including dinner and show season tickets), must be purchased either by phone at 330-655-8522, or via mailat firstname.lastname@example.org for mail order info.
The theater is at 41 S. Oviatt St., in the Barlow Community Center in Hudson.
Next on stage
Hudson Players will conclude its 2013-14 season with Monty Python's "Spamalot," which runs April 25 through May 17.