Playhouse stages madcap comedy "Unnecessary Farce"


unnecessary farce saint michael's playhouse

L to R: Turner Crumbly (as Eric), Bill Carmichael (as Mayor Meekly), Christian Kohn (as Todd the Scot), Sarah Carleton (as Mary Meekly), Amanda Ryan Paige (as Billie), Craig Wells (as Agent Frank), Abby Lee (as Karen)

A "hilarious madcap farce," Unnecessary Farce, staged by Saint Michael's Playhouse, July 5-14, in the McCarthy Arts Center: Two cops. Three crooks. Eight doors - Go. Madcap hilarity ensues.

In an economy motel room, an embezzling mayor is supposed to meet his female accountant, while two undercover cops wait to catch the meeting on video-tape.  Full-bore raucous fun ensues in this over-the-top fast-paced comedy "with more twists than a bag full of Twizzlers."

Unnecessary Farce is a new American comedy written by Paul Slade Smith during his spare time while on the national tour of Wicked. The play caught on quickly and in just a few years has been produced all over the county. This marks the Vermont premier of Unnecessary Farce, a show that sets up quickly, and takes off like a rocket, with comic mayhem from beginning to end.

"If there ever was a madcap comedy, Unnecessary Farce is it," said Chuck Tobin, producing artistic director of the playhouse.

Celebrating its 65th season of professional summer theater, Saint Michael's Playhouse has been named "One of the best regional theater companies in America" by The Drama League of New York City, and hailed by Yankee Magazine as "The Best of New England."

Director, Greg Ramos, earned an MFA in Playwriting at UCLA. He has directed Ain't Misbehavin', Cabaret, Confessions of Women from East LA, A Doll's House, Evita, Godspell, Into the Woods, Our Town, La Ronde, Real Women have Curves, Santos & Santos and Stop Kiss. He started the Latino Guest Artist Program and The Border Public Theater while on the faculty of the University of Texas, El Paso. He has performed his original solo plays Border Stories and When We Danced all around the country. He has been national secretary for the American Theatre in Higher Education’s Latino Focus Group. He is incoming chair of Theater at the University of Vermont.

The CAST in their own words:

Sarah Carleton (Mary Meekly) New York, National Tour and Regional acting credits include Always Patsy Cline, Brighton Beach Memoirs, Broadway Bound, Much Ado About Nothing, The Importance of Being Ernest and The Taming of the Shrew directed by Maurice Daniels of the Royal Shakespeare Company. Directing credits include: Almost Maine, Cloud 9, Eurydice, Female Stage Beauty, She Stoops to Conquer, Greater Tuna, Assassins, The Beaux’ Stratagem. Sarah taught and performed in Poland at the University of Poznan at the height of the solidarity movement where she directed Love of Life, a play developed by her Polish students. At Ruotalibera Theatre in Rome, Italy Sarah studied Commedia Dell’Arte and Grotowski approaches to mask performance with Tiziana Lucattini.

Bill Carmichael (Mayor Meekly) Saint Michael's Playhouse: Pirates, Barnum, How the Other Half Loves, Breaking Up is Hard To Do, Blithe Spirit, Drowsy Chaparone and I’ll be Back Before Midnight. Bill was last seen on Broadway in Mamma Mia. Other Broadway credits include Les Miserables, Cats, and Peter Pan. Bill was in the original production of Forbidden Broadway and can be heard on the original cast recording. In Los Angeles he was in the original US premiere of Ragtime, Forever Plaid and Sweeney Todd with Kelsey Grammer. 1st National tours include Phantom of the Opera, City of Angels, Cats and Ragtime. He has worked in theaters across the country including the Mark Taper Forum, Goodspeed Opera House, Eugene O'Neill theater center and the Public in NYC. Other Vermont productions include The Crucible, Sight Unseen, Pippin and A little night Music.

Turner Crumbley (Eric) regional theatre credits include Dracula, The 39 Steps, The SantaLand Diaries (New Stage Theatre), Big River, A Simple Gift (Mill Mountain Theatre), Sweet Charity (Sierra Repertory Theatre), Louis L'Amour's ‘One for the Mohave Kid', The Minute Men (Great American Melodrama), Blood Wedding (Warehouse Theatre), The Diary of Anne Frank (Stage One), and Disney's Beauty & the Beast (Jefferson Performing Arts). Recent film and television credits: Contraband, 21 Jump Street, and TNT’s Memphis Beat.

Christian Kohn (Todd) has been seen in Sleuth and Shakespeare in Hollywood at the New London Barn playhouse. He has worked extensively in New York, Chicago and the regional circuit. Some favorite productions he has appeared in are Hollywood Arms, with Hal Prince and Carol Burnett, the title role in Sherlock Holmes: The Finale Adventure, An Ideal Husband , Trailerville, Last Chance for a Slow Dance, Death of A Salesman, Of Mice and, Bug, The Real Hush-Hush , Phaedra directed by JoAnne Akalaitis, The Turn of the Screw, The Lion in Winter, The Gift Horse , Among the Thugs, David Copperfield directed by Giles Havergal, Sideman, The Invention of Love, The Piano, Twelfth Night, and Mary Stuart, Henry V, Julius Caesar, Opus.

Abby Lee (Karen) is thrilled to be back at Saint Michael's Playhouse where you might remember her as Sally in Talley's Folly (directed by the great Kenneth Kimmins), Mona Kent in Dames at Sea, and a bevy of roles in Almost, Maine. Other credits: Maria in West Side Story, Young Stella in Follies (w/Carole Lawrence), and Hermia in A Midsummer Night's Dream. Film: Confessions of a Shopaholic, 21 and A Wakeup (with Faye Dunaway). Abby is currently the lead producer of the Broadway revival of Pump Boys and Dinettes.

Amanda Ryan Paige (Billie) Off-Broadway: Zanna Don't! (Houseman); Charlie Brown, Henry and Mudge (Lortel). Other NYC Credits: Trailer Park (NYMF); Awesome 80's Prom (workshop/co-writer); Dreams This Way/ Raw Impressions (TADA!); Babes In Toyland (Avery Fisher); Lucky Stiff (APAC). National Tour: Fiddler, Water Coolers. Regional: Boeing Boeing, Spelling Bee (Northern Stage); Marvelous Wonderettes, Boeing Boeing, Perfect/Change, Brighton Beach Memoires (Saint Michael's Playhouse); Ring of Fire (Fireside); Pump Boys and Dinettes and Trailer Park (Willows & Mason St.); Stand By Your Man (Mtn. Playhouse); Urinetown (Carousel); Das Barbecu (Arvada); No, No Nanette (Goodspeed); Noises Off!, Brighton Beach (Leatherstocking); Carousel, Over Here! (Conn. Rep)

Craig Wells (Agent Frank) appeared on Broadway in Les Misérables and Chess (original cast recording). Off-Broadway in Forbidden Broadway (original cast recording Forbidden Broadway Vol. 3), Closer Than Ever, Balancing Act (original cast recording). He also appeared in the National Tours of Les Misérables and Pirates of Penzance. Regional Theatre: "King" in Big River (Syracuse Stage); Closer Than Ever (Arena Stage); "Max" in Lend Me a Tenor (Jupiter Theater); "Sam" in Shenandoah (St. Louis MUNY). Last summer, Craig was the "Man in Chair" in The Drowsy Chaperone at Saint Michael's Playhouse. He played "Andrew" in Love Letters at the Grand Isle Lake House and at UVM, he played "Herr Schultz" in Cabaret.

Rest of the 2012 season:

An inspiring and hilarious Irish comedy, Over the Pub, July 18 - 28, directed by Kathryn Markey. The Murphy's have a lot going on in their cramped household above the family pub in Ireland. With her hot-headed husband, Ellen has her hands full. The youngest, Tommy, is a smart, wise-cracking kid who is starting to question their family values. When he announces that instead of being confirmed he'd rather shop around for a more fun religion, all hell breaks loose. A warm, loving look at Ireland, family, and growing up.

The blockbuster Off-Broadway musical event, Forever Plaid, August 1-11, directed by Keith Andrews. One of the most popular musicals in recent history, this charming Off-Broadway smash hit will take you on a trip to the fabulous fifties with the harmonious and heavenly tones of four loveable guys, Sparky, Jinx, Smudge, and Frankie. Forever Plaid is the story of The Plaids, a 1950s boy band, miraculously brought back to earth from the great beyond for the chance to fulfill their dreams and perform the concert they never got to do while they were living!

Tickets and season subscriptions available on line and at the box office in McCarthy Arts Center. Subscription for all 4 shows earn 20% discount. Subscriptions range in price from $100 - $120. Single tickets also available from $28 - $38. For more information, go to

Playhouse Junior

Children’s theater camp, July 9-13, will provide a camp and two children’s shows for the public. Register now at  Playhouse Jr. probable shows will be You're a Good Man Charlie Brown and Pinkalicious.

Playhouse background:

From its beginnings in 1947, Saint Michael's Playhouse has blossomed into an award-winning, highly-regarded equity theater company. The Playhouse features talent from Broadway, Off-Broadway, and regional theaters nationwide, presented right here in Vermont. Housed in the Saint Michael's College McCarthy Arts Center, one of the finest theater facilities in the state, the Playhouse attracts approximately 16,000 theatergoers each season.

Saint Michael's Playhouse is a professional theater company operating as an auxiliary enterprise of Saint Michael's College.  The Playhouse is Greater Burlington's only actors' equity resident theater company and as such operates under contract with Actors' Equity Association in New York City. At the same time, Saint Michael’s College students have the opportunity to learn from the pros through internships in technical theater, costuming, lighting, set construction, and publicity.

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