A Little Shakespeare and More Leads to a Lot of Laughs
The Jewish Federation’s JFed Players are at it again! Following the very successful run of The Drowsy Chaperone, the JFed Players proudly present Leading Ladies as our Fall Play. Written by Ken Ludwig, author of Lend Me a Tenor, Leading Ladies is a hilarious romp, full of colorful characters, witty banter. . . and Shakespeare! The show opens on Saturday, October 14, 2023, at 8:00 pm, at Porticos Art Space in Pasadena.
Directed by Neil Brown, Leading Ladies is Ken Ludwig at his most outrageous. The story focuses on two down-and-out British actors who, after reading a newspaper story about a rich old woman and her quest to find her two missing relatives and heirs to her fortune, decide to pass themselves off as her kin. Hilarity ensues as their plan to get a percentage of the inheritance takes an unexpected twist. Along the way, there is a revolving door of relationships, colorful characters, and some interesting costumes, all culminating in a presentation of a Shakespearean play—and some surprises. The cast includes some familiar faces as well as some new:
Leo: Erik Friestad
Jack: Ted Burke
Meg: Mimi Caballero
Audrey: Katie Davis
Florence: Kate Landro
Doc: Michael DiRosa
Butch: Justin Guigliemetti
The JFed Players Community Theater ensemble is thriving! We have grown in number and talent. For the last several years, we have attracted a number of very talented individuals to walk the boards along with our stalwart core of actors. Many of the new members of our troupe have stayed around, enriching our group, contributing to our shows either on stage or behind the scenes. We have heard it from both our “regulars” and those who are new to us—they are impressed with the teamwork and camaraderie we demonstrate and how welcoming we are. We are like a family, all brought together by a love of theater. Our core purpose has not changed, presenting shows by Jewish playwrights, composers, and/or with Jewish themes. All our actors, whether Jewish or not, come to appreciate our traditions and the Jewish contributions to American culture. For example, we start every Saturday evening performance with Havdalah, led by Cantor Judy Sofer, in which all the actors and crew participate. It is always a beautiful way to start our Saturday performances and a wonderful example of Judaism. The JFed Players Community Ensemble is not only an acting troupe but a way to bring the community together—Jews and non-Jews alike. In this day of increased antisemitism, anything we as Jews can do to enhance understanding of us as a community and as people is important, and theater is a way of doing just that. Plays are a way of bringing people together to appreciate and enjoy Jewish contributions to our shared culture.
For those of you who have come to our shows over the years, I am sure you have noticed the new faces that crop up in our shows; for those who have yet to see one of our shows, give it a try! You will surely leave fully entertained and hopefully will tell your friends. Leading Ladies opens on Saturday, October 14, 8:00 pm, at Porticos Art Space, and runs through Sunday, October 22, 2023: Saturdays, 8:00 pm; Sundays, 3:00 pm; and Thursday evening, 7:30 pm. For tickets: www.jewishsgpv.org.
Lori McKenna is a contributing writer to Jlife Magazine.