The story goes that Tony Award-winning playwright Michael Frayn was backstage at one of plays when he realized that the behind-the-scenes antics were funnier than the onstage action. This sparked the idea for NOISES OFF, one of the most celebrated farces of all time. Directed by comedic Broadway veteran Don Stephenson, NOISES OFF previews March 20 and 21, opens March 22 and runs through April 20 in rotating repertory in the Mertz Theatre, located in the FSU Center for the Performing Arts.
“In a time of breaking news, and more breaking news, NOISES OFF gives us a good, much needed laugh,” says director Don Stephenson. “The show takes us backstage and onstage (and backstage and onstage again and again and again). It gives us a delicious taste of what it’s like to be in the theatre.”
A comedy of epic proportions, NOISES OFF has been the laugh-until-you-cry guilty pleasure of audiences for decades. With opening night just hours away, a motley company of actors stumbles through a frantic, final rehearsal of the British sex farce Nothing On, and things could not be going worse. Lines are forgotten, love triangles are unraveling, sardines are flying everywhere, and complete pandemonium ensues. Will the cast pull their act together on stage even if they can't behind the scenes?
Don Stephenson's directing work includes Titanic (Lincoln Center, MUNY), Broadway Classics (Carnegie Hall), Of Mice and Manhattan (Kennedy Center), A Comedy of Tenors (Paper Mill Playhouse) and more. As an actor on Broadway, he appeared in A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder; Rock of Ages; Dracula, the Musical; The Producers and more.
“With Don Stephenson, an extraordinary comedic actor and director at the helm, this production of NOISES OFF is bound to be one of the funniest theatrical experiences we have ever presented,” says Asolo Rep producing artistic director Michael Donald Edwards. “I urge the Sarasota community to take a break and escape to NOISES OFF, a joyous celebration of the magic of live theatre.”
The mayhem takes place on a set that “is another character in the show,” says Asolo Rep associate production manager Michael Rodgers. “It’s a two story set that revolves, providing a playground for the ‘on’ and ‘off’ stage action of the play.”
An all-star ensemble cast will bring the on and off stage antics to life. Christianne Tisdale (Dotty Otley/Mrs. Clackett) has been seen on Broadway in Beauty and the Beast, Triumph of Love, and Titanic. Coburn Goss (Lloyd Dallas) was seen Off-Broadway in Steppenwolf’s When the Messenger Is Hot at 59E59. His recent credits include The Columnist (American Blues Theater), The Burials (Steppenwolf Theatre), and Chimerica (TimeLine Theatre).
Laura Rook (Poppy Norton-Taylor) returns to Asolo Rep after appearing as Viola de Lesseps in Shakespeare in Love and Daisy in Rhinoceros last season. Her credits include: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Love’s Labour’s Lost, Othello Henry V, and Romeo and Juliet (Chicago Shakespeare Theater); The Liar (Writers Theatre); and Skylight (Court Theatre).
Kate Hampton’s (Belinda Blair/Flavia) New York theater credits include The Master Builder (BAM), All My Sons (Roundabout), and The Typographer's Dream (Clubbed Thumb). Regionally she has appeared at Florida Rep, Palm Beach Dramaworks, Peterborough Players, Williamstown and more.
Steve Hendrickson (Selsdon Mowbray/Burglar) has appeared in 1776, The Matchmaker, and Both Your Houses at Asolo Rep. He has also performed at Chicago Shakespeare Theater, American Conservatory Theater, Old Globe, Geva Theatre Center, Arena Stage and more.
The cast also features FSU/Asolo Conservatory students Andrew Hardaway (Garry Lejeune/Roger), Katie Sah (Brooke Ashton/Vicki), Dylan Crow (Frederick Fellowes/Phillip), and Scott Shomaker (Tim Allgood).
NOISES OFF runs in rotating repertory through April 20. Also playing in March at Asolo Rep: Lucas Hnath’s recent Broadway hit A DOLL’S HOUSE, PART 2 and Lynn Nottage’s 2017 Pulitzer Prize-winner SWEAT. For tickets and more information, visit www.asolorep.org.