Sir Noel Coward's farce, Present Laughter, is playing at the newly refurbished Lucie Stern Theatre in Palo Alto Dec. 2-Jan 3, 1999. The official opening night is Dec. 5. Possibly Coward's most autobiographical play, Present Laughter follows pampered actor Garry Essendine who is reaching middle age with reluctance. Trouble surrounds him in the form of star-struck debutantes, obsessive writers and a friend's lustful wife, but with the help of his loyal wife and his secretary, as well as a dose of Coward-esque wit and sophistication, Essendine manages to survive.
Mark Capri (TheatreWork's M. Butterfly) stars as Garry Essendine with Rebecca Dines (TheatreWorks' Mrs. Klein, The Man Who Came to Dinner) as his wife, Liz. Also in the company are Amy Resnick, Caroline Shaffer, Benjamin Privitt, Christine Williams, Tom Woosnam, John Edward Clark, Andrew Ragone and Erin-Kate Whitcomb.
Tom Lindblade directs. Lindblade has spent 16 years with TheatreWorks, directing The Man Who Came to Dinner and Holiday Memories, among others. For his musical direction, he has received two Bay Area Drama-Logue Awards (Merrily We Roll Along, O Pioneers!) and one Bay Area Critics Circle Award (O Pioneers!).
Tickets for Present Laughter are $35-$19 and are available by calling 650-903-6000. The Lucie Stern Theatre is located at 1305 Middlefield Road.
-- By Christine Ehren