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"The Maderati" Is a Comic Trip Back to the 1980s

Monday, November 18, 2013

Richard Greenberg’s fast-paced comedy The Maderati opens soon in the William Inge Theatre in Murphy Hall, 1530 Naismith. Performances run Dec. 6-7 and 10-12 at 7:30 p.m. and Dec. 8 at 2:30 p.m.

General admission tickets are on sale now at KU ticket offices and online at www.kutheatre.com. Tickets are also available by calling the University Theatre, (785) 864-3982, and the Lied Center at (785) 864-ARTS. Tickets are $15 for the public, $14 for senior citizens and KU faculty/staff, and $10 for students and children 5-18.

In Tony Award-winning playwright Richard Greenberg's The Maderati, an inbred group of Manhattan yuppies are shaken when Charlotte (Abby Hadel, Lenexa junior) is admitted to a mental hospital. The farce begins when Dewy (Sara Kennedy, Topeka senior) and Ritt (Collin Stephens, Olathe senior) misunderstand the information and begin spreading the news to their eccentric friends. As word gets out of Charlotte's "death," the incremental exaggeration pushes all the characters to the brink of insanity. Narcissism and self-absorption dominate friendship and love in this hilarious quick-paced comedy directed by Jeanne Tiehen, Ralston, Neb. PhD student.

The Maderati, originally produced Off-Broadway at Playwrights Horizons in 1987, is a comic arsenal of absurdism bound to please. The New York Daily News called the original production “full of wit and funny characters” and The New Yorker said the show was “young and sharp and frisky.”

For Tiehen one of the most important components of directing this obtuse get-together of Greenberg’s zaniest characters is establishing a strong sense of play within her ensemble. “The quick wit and dialogue moves so quickly we all have to be on the same page, both literally and figuratively,” Tiehen said. “My actors are incredible because they make new and bold choices each rehearsal. That’s what keeps the story fresh.”

Tiehen said the farcical root of the piece lies in each performer challenging themselves to step outside traditional “realistic” forms of contemporary acting. As Dewy Overlander, actress Kennedy said she loves the experimenting with comedy in the abstract world of 1980s New York. “I’ve never had so much fun working on any show in my life, ever,” Kennedy said. “The highlight of my day is everyone coming together and discovering more about this ridiculous production.”

The Maderati features costumes designed by Delores Ringer, associate professor of theatre. Jenifer Harmon, Kansas City, Mo. MFA student, is scenic designer and Nannan Gu, Yantai, China MFA student, is the lighting designer. Raven Reese, Wichita senior, is stage managing.

Additional cast members include Thomas Tong, Olathe junior, as Keene Esterhazy; Kristina Armstrong, Manhattan sophomore, as Cuddles Molotov; Maggie Boyles, Les Brouzils, France junior, as Rena deButts; Ben Schatzel, Leavenworth freshman, as Chuck deButts; Preston O’ffill, Overland Park freshman, as Martin Royale and Aden Lindholm, McPherson sophomore, as Danton Young.

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