Bay City Players Explore the Humorous Circumstances of LEADING LADIES

Posted In: Arts & Entertainment, Theatre,   From Issue 756   By: Robert E Martin

27th September, 2012     0

The theatrical confection known as Leading Ladies is playwright Ken Ludwig's third comedic outing and tells the tale of two actors whose declining fortunes bring them to a low-point of presenting Shakespearean plays in local Moose Lodge halls. 

Ludwig, whose previous outings include Lend Me a Tenor and Moon Over Buffalo develops his characters to the nadir of being booed off a Moose stage for the final time, as they unexpectedly find their fortunes brightening in the form of a wealthy woman in a nearby town who is dying and wants to will her fortune to two long missing English nephews.  It's at that moment the nefarious actors decide a way out of their predicament.

Assuming their best British accents they descent upon the fading woman, only to discover that the missing heirs are nieces and not nephews. Unfazed they are forced to engage in a bit of gender bending ala Tony Curtis & Jack Lemon in Some Like it Hot. And as one might expect, this generates all kinds of entanglements - romantic and otherwise.

Leading Ladies first premiered at the Alley Theatre in October 2004, directed by the author; and this time around it kicks-off the 2012 season of The Bay City Players with a production directed by Denyse Clayton, whom also teaches theatre at The Flying Pig Academy - a children's theatre school that she owns and operates out of Midland.

When asked what she feels distinguishes this comedic farce from other works in the genre, Clayton points to the obvious homage to Some Like it Hot “where men masquerade as women which coupled together with a well-written comedic script, lends itself to a very entertaining evening for the theatre-goer.”

Involved in the theatre from a very young age both onstage and off, Clayton has directed dozens of shows over the past 25-plus years downstage and at The Midland Center for the Arts. Last year she directed The Best Christmas Pageant Ever for the 'Stages of Discovery' component of Bay City Players.

When asked what the most challenging component involved with rendering this production of Leading Ladies to the stage, she points to the basics. “Timing in comedy is always central. It's always about the correct timing of everything, especially with a farce. When you add men dressing as women and all of the sight gags that go along with that, it can be quite challenging!”

Clayton said that the turnout for auditions for Leading Ladies was surprisingly strong. “We could have cast this show twice over and then some based on the number of people who auditioned,” she reflects. “I have a wonderful cast who are each solid performers in their own right, but work together very impressively as a tight ensemble. Adaptability is one common strength they share in this crazy show!”

When asked about some of the elements involved with this production that she feels audiences will find most appealing, engaging, and funny, she notes “Comedy is my favorite genre.  There are so many things in our day-to-day lives that are serious, when I go to the theatre I like to be entertained and laugh. A fun evening out and a good belly laugh is the gift that I hope Leading Ladies will leave our audiences with.”

The Bay City Players production of Leading Ladies runs from October 5-7 and 11-14th, with showtimes at 8 PM Friday & Saturday and Sundays at 3 PM.  You can call for tickets by phoning 893-5555 or order online by going to


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