The second production in Florida Stage's 20th anniversary season is a "riotous new farce" that "takes on the over-heated worlds of golf, golf magazines and corporate take-overs," according to the resident Equity company — the rare American troupe devoted exclusively to new (and very recent) works.
Among Wiltse's 11 plays are Broadway's Doubles, Lincoln Center Theater's Suggs and Florida Stage hits A Marriage Minuet and The Good German.
The play's director, Louis Tyrrell, is the company's founding producing director. He directed Florida Stage's critically acclaimed hot-seller Opus, which opened the season.
The Hatchetman cast includes Todd Allen Durkin, Beth McIntosh, Susan Bennett, Shane Jacobsen, Colin McPhillamy and Lisa Morgan.
Scenic design is by Mark Pirolo, lighting design is by John McFadden, costumes are by Erin Amico, sound is by Matt Kelly. Hatchetman opens Dec. 8 after previews and continues to Jan. 14, 2007.
According to Florida Stage, "The setting for Hatchetman is the office of a prominent golf magazine. Carter loves Temple, or does he hate her? Temple loves Carter, or does she hate him? Jane is very high maintenance but she's in love with Carter and he doesn't know it. Johnson is the new guy who doesn't know anything, Otis is just slightly eccentric and Sam is the hardened older broad who has a healthy sexual appetite. Throw into this bouillabaisse news of an impending take-over of the magazine by an outside corporation and everyone is scrambling to figure out who is the guy that's been sent to flush out the weak links — the hatchet man. Now you've got a recipe for an hysterical comedy in a world that most people will recognize."
This is not Wiltse's first time teeing up at Florida Stage. "This is our third full production of David's (plus a reading of Sedition) and we adore him," Florida Stage managing director Nancy Barnett told Playbill.com. "He's a savvy theatre artist who writes in a clean, intelligent way that's extremely smart. And versatile — the three we've produced have been very, very different. Plus he's witty and more than a little wicked, which we love. He's getting a lot of attention right now, and it's very well deserved. We are thrilled to be a part of it."
Producing director Tyrrell added, "For 20 years, the mission of Florida Stage has been to produce an eclectic range of new plays, often issue-oriented and almost always thought provoking. So, when David Wiltse gave me the script for Hatchetman, he was quick to point out that, unlike the first two plays of his we produced, this new play was simply an homage to the ancient tradition of farce and buffoonery. I thought for a moment about all the current sadness in the world, and decided that sometimes we just need to kick back and laugh."
Wiltse is the winner of a Drama Desk Award for "Most Promising Playwright" for his first produced play, Suggs, which premiered at Lincoln Center. His second play was the comedy, Doubles, which ran for the l985 86 season on Broadway. His other plays include Triangles for Two, Temporary Help, A Grand Romance, A Dance Lesson, Crazy Horse And Three Stars and Sedition, which will be given a reading at the Westport Country Playhouse. As a novelist, Wiltse has had 12 books published, including six in the John Becker series and two in the Billy Tree/Falls City series.
"Into the Fire," was made a main selection by the Literary Guild. His first novel, "The Wedding Guest," was picked as one of the 100 Notable Books of the Year by The New York Times. "Prayer For The Dead" was similarly chosen as a book of the year by Time Out Magazine in London.
A comedy series created by Mr. Wiltse, "Ladies Man," ran for a season on CBS-TV.
Wiltse is the recipient of an Edgar Allan Poe Award from the Mystery Writers of America. Other awards include the Nebraska Sower Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Arts and the Westport Arts Achievement Award for Literature.
The troupe notes that "due to mature subject matter this play is not appropriate for children under the age of 16."
For more information, visit www.floridastage.org.