Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar: BUFFALO THEATRE ENSEMBLE OPENS 2016-2017
"YEAR OF THE PHOENIX" SEASON WITH MARC CAMOLETTI’S
“DON’T DRESS FOR DINNER”
DIRECTED BY KURT NAEBIG SEPT. 8 – OCT. 9
After a three-year hiatus Buffalo Theatre Ensemble (BTE) opens its 2016-2017 “Year of the Phoenix” Season in the McAninch Arts Center’s intimate Playhouse Theatre with Marc Camoletti’s “Don’t Dress for Dinner,” directed by BTE Ensemble member Kurt Naebig,* Sept. 8 – Oct. 9. This production marks the return of the professional Equity company as the MAC’s resident theater company. There will be a preview performance on Thursday, Sept. 8 at 8 p.m.; press opening is Friday, Sept. 9 at 8 p.m. Performances run through Sunday, Oct. 9.
Hidden identities and outrageous situations take center stage in this hysterically funny sequel to Camoletti’s “Boeing Boeing.” The Chicago Tribune has hailed “Don’t Dress for Dinner” as “…a comedy of confusion that almost collapses under the weight of duplicity, mistaken identity, and extramarital affairs, but somehow stays in the air like a precarious but well-built soufflé;” and the Guardian lauds,“Hurtling along at the speed of light, this breathtaking farce is a near faultless piece of theatrical invention.”
“Don’t Dress for Dinner” was a smash hit in Paris, under the title of “Pyjamas Pour Six” where it played for more than two years. After London producer Mark Furness commissioned playwright Robin Hawdon to do a rewrite of the play, it was retitled “Don’t Dress for Dinner” and went on to run for six years at the U.K.’s Apollo and Duchess Theatres. It has since played in theaters throughout the English-speaking world and had its Broadway debut in 2012, where it was nominated for two Tony Awards and two Outer Critics Circle Awards and featured Jennifer Tilly in the role of Suzanne.
“Don’t Dress for Dinner” is set in a country house in France on the evening when Bernard’s wife, Jacqueline, is scheduled to be out of town visiting her mother. Bernard takes advantage of the situation and plans a dinner for himself, his mistress, Suzanne, and old friend Robert. Bernard is unaware that Robert is having an affair with Jacqueline, who immediately cancels her visit to her mother when she learns of Robert’s arrival.
Catering the dinner is the smart and sassy Suzette. Due to the similarity in Suzette and Suzanne’s names, Robert mistakenly assumes Suzette is Bernard’s mistress, and the things quickly spiral into a quagmire of suspicions and farcical old-fashioned hanky-panky, ultimately culminating in each character gaining a new sense of respect and commitment to the relationships in their lives.
Says director Naebig, “What a blessing it is to have the talented BTE Ensemble together again! The dedication these theater artists have to their craft, coupled with their desire to help to teach and boost the careers of budding actors in the COD theater program, is something quite extraordinary. I’m so excited BTE is back up and running, and I’m especially pleased to have the honor to direct one of the funniest plays of the last 30 years. Both our loyal supporters and new subscribers are going to love this show.”
The cast for “Don’t Dress for Dinner” includes Chicago’s Robert Jordan Bailey* (Robert); Downers Grove’s Connie Canaday Howard* (Jacqueline); Chicago’s Nick DuFloth (George); Chicago’s Rebecca Cox (Suzette); LaGrange’s Laura Leonardo Ownby (Suzanne) and Western Spring’s Brad Walker (Bernard).
The design team includes Lombard’s Kurt Naebig* (Director); Aurora’s Michael Moon* (Set Design); Addison’s Kimberly Morris (Costume Design); Glen Ellyn’s Jon Gantt* (Lighting Design); Lenox, Iowa’s Galen Ramsey* (Sound Design); Chicago’s Brad Sauper and Jillian Luce (Properties Design) and Muncie, Ind.’s Jon Tovar (Fight Choreographer).
Buffalo Theatre Ensemble presents Marc Camoletti’s “Don’t Dress for Dinner” directed by Kurt Naebig in the Playhouse Theatre of the McAninch Arts Center, located at 425 Fawell Blvd. on the campus of College of DuPage Sept. 8 – Oct. 9. There will be a preview performance on Thursday, Sept. 8; press opening is Friday, Sept. 9. Performances are Thursday-Saturday at 8 p.m. (Sept. 17 and Sept. 30 at 8:30 p.m.) and Sunday at 3 p.m. Tickets are $35. Rush discounted priced tickets (subject to availability) may be purchased in person at the box office from noon – 2 p.m. on the day of the performance. For tickets or more information visit AtTheMAC.org or call 630.942.4000.
In addition to “Don’t Dress for Dinner,” Buffalo Theatre Ensemble’s 2016-2017 three-play “Year of the Phoenix” season includes David Lindsay-Abaire’s “Good People” directed by Connie Canaday Howard (Feb. 2-March 5) and Alan Ayckbourn’s “Improbable Fiction” directed by Bryan Burke (May 4-June 4). Throughout this “Year of the Phoenix” Season BTE seeks to build financial stability, establish a sustainable structure through engagement with manifold communities.
BTE Company members and visiting artists are a vital part of both the college’s educational mission and the fabric of the community through programming that includes producing a three-show season beginning with the 2016-2017 season, creating master classes for students, presenting demonstrations of theater arts, hosting performance talk backs and subscriber nights, and participating in community outreach.
Since 1986 BTE has staged more than 110 shows. In 2013, BTE went on hiatus, following the College of DuPage’s decision to not house BTE. This past April, following a strong more than two year campaign by BTE supporters, the COD board reconsidered. Currently, BTE is scheduled to receive a financial commitment from COD for the first two years of operation while BTE establishes itself as a tax-exempt nonprofit organization for fundraising purposes, and the relationship will be reviewed. For more information about BTE visit BTEChicago.com.
* Denotes Buffalo Theatre Ensemble Company member
The McAninch Arts Center (MAC) at College of DuPageis located 25 miles west of Chicago near I-88 and I-355, and houses three performance spaces (the 780-seat proscenium Belushi Performance Hall; the 236-seat soft-thrust Playhouse Theatre; and the versatile black box Studio Theatre), plus the Cleve Carney Art Gallery, classrooms for the college’s academic programming and the Lakeside Pavilion. The MAC has presented theater, music, dance and visual art to more than 1.5 million people since its opening in 1986 and typically welcomes more than 75,000 patrons from the greater Chicago area to more than 230 performances each season.
The mission of the MAC is to foster enlightened educational and performance opportunities, which encourage artistic expression, establish a lasting relationship between people and art, and enrich the cultural vitality of the community. For more information about the MAC, visit AtTheMAC.org, facebook.com/AtTheMAC or twitter.com/AtTheMAC.
The McAninch Arts Center is supported in part by the College of DuPage Foundation. Programs at the MAC are partially supported through funding from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.