Wilma co-artistic director, Jiri Zizka, directs the production, which marks U.K. playwright Smiles' playwriting debut in the states.
Ying Tong – A Walk With the Goons "chronicles the story of the famous BBC Radio comedy series 'The Goon Show' and its surge from cult status to raving success, showcasing the series' trademark surrealism and profound silliness," according to Wilma notes. "Before 'Monty Python' invaded television, 'The Goon Show' — famed not only for its surreal humor, puns, and catchphrases but also for its groundbreaking sound effects — made an entire nation laugh week after week. The Goons met in the 1940s, and like many of the post war entertainers, they all began performing while serving in World War II. Running from 1951-1960, the show changed the face of British comedy and greatly influenced Python, the Beatles, and many others."
The play "delves into the mind of Goon writer and 'godfather of alternative comedy' Spike Milligan who is going gaga from the strain of creating comic genius. Wild fantasies of Jewish leprechauns, gay Vikings, and malevolent Morris dancers are springing from his fragmented brain. Fellow Goons, the future Dr. Strangelove Peter Sellers, Harry Secombe, and announcer Wallace Greenslade, scramble to recover Milligan's missing marbles and save his sanity."
Opening is Feb. 20. The play was a hit in England and Australia.
The Wilma production features a cast of both American and British actors — David Beach (as Spike Milligan), Steven Beckingham (as Peter Sellers), Ed Jewett (as Harry Secombe) and Colin McPhillamy (as Wallace Greenslade). The creative team includes set designer David P. Gordon, costume designer Janus Stefanowicz, lighting designer Jerold R. Forsyth and sound designer Jorge Cousineau.
For more information call (215) 546-7824 or visit www.wilmatheater.org.