Buffalo Theatre performs ‘Leading Ladies’
By Randall G. Mielke For Sun-Times Media September 5, 2013 8:48AM
Robert Jordan Bailey as Jack and Bryan Burke as Leo in BTE’s “Leading Ladies.” | Photo by GIFT
♦ Sept. 6-22
♦ Building K Theatre at College of DuPage, 425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn
♦ Tickets, $28-$36
♦ (630) 942-4000
Updated: September 5, 2013 8:48AM
Two Shakespearean actors take on the roles of a lifetime in Buffalo Theatre Ensemble’s presentation of “Leading Ladies.”
The Buffalo Theatre Ensemble will present “Leading Ladies” beginning on Sept. 6 in the Building K Theatre at the College of DuPage.
Set in 1958, “Leading Ladies” by Ken Ludwig centers on two struggling, male Shakespearean actors, Jack (played by Robert Jordan Bailey) and Leo (played by Bryan Burke). The two actors discover through a newspaper article that an older woman, Florence (played by Loretta Hauser), in York, Penn., has been unable to find her sister’s children to include them in her multi-million dollar inheritance. So, they resolve to pass themselves off as her relatives and get the cash.
The trouble is, when they get to York, they find out that the relatives aren’t nephews, but nieces. The pair decides to put their acting skills to the test and dress up as women to secure the money.
“Then the two guys fall in love with other people while they are dressed as women and, as the saying goes, ‘zaniness ensues,’” Director Kurt Naebig said. “The play looks at how far people are willing to go for love and money.”
Naebig said the play is reminiscent of the 1982 Dustin Hoffman film “Tootsie” or the early 1980s TV show “Bosom Buddies.” He believes it also is similar to director Billy Wilder’s 1959 film “Some Like it Hot,” which he decided to watch again to get some pointers.
“I watch a movie like ‘Some Like It Hot’ to see if there is something I may have missed,” Naebig said. “If I see a bit of business in a movie or a play, I may work it in someplace. For example, one of the characters in ‘Some Like It Hot’ is dressed as a woman and goes from talking like a girl to barking like an angry taxi driver. I thought, ‘Oh yeah. I should put that in the play.’”
Naebig said another key to presenting a successful farce is believability.
“You have to have it based in reality,” he said. “If we believe in the world they are in, then it all works.”
And when it all works, Naebig is pleased.
“The satisfaction for me is the excitement of seeing it come to fruition,” he said. “As I direct, I see certain moments created. When we open, it is a finely-tuned machine with all the cogs moving freely. It’s a joy.”