The New Jersey Repertory Company, the non-profit, year-round professional theatre in Long Branch, NJ, offers the East Coast premiere of Stan Lachow's comedy, Harry and Thelma in the Woods, July 12-Aug. 5.
The two-character contemporary comedy, directed by Mark Graham, features John Lombardi and Susan G. Bobin the title roles. The story revolves around a couple who have been married for 25 years. Thelma is a happy housewife, who enjoys cooking, misquotes authors, and sings off-key. Harry, on the other hand, is a disillusioned author of animal-training books, who longs for the opportunity to write the great Jewish-American novel.
What happens when they re-visit the romantic wooded area where they first consummated their relationship 25 years ago? "Not what either of them expects," according to an announcement.
Director Mark Graham helmed a reading of Harry and Thelma in the Woods with Rue McClanahan at the Miranda Theatre in New York City that led to a production in Florida at the Hollywood Playhouse. The play has since been revised and this is technically the world premiere of this version, said NJ Rep artistic director SuzAnne Barabas. NJ Rep is devoted to developing new works.
Playwright Lachow has written Bench Plays (an evening of one-acts), which has had several productions Off-Off Broadway and at The American Renegade Theater in Los Angeles; Dominoes, a full-length play seen at the Theatre Artists Workshop in Connecticut; I'm Not Jewish, and I Don't Know Why I'm Screaming, produced by the Cubiculo Theater, Off-Off-Broadway. His play, Wrinkles, was a finalist at the O'Neill Playwrights Conference, and his newest play is titled, The Family Edge. As an actor, he has appeared on Broadway, Off-Broadway, and in various regional theatres, including Baltimore's Center Stage. John Lombardi has performed in New York and throughout the United States with the award-winning children's theatre company, Theatreworks USA, bringing theatre to young audiences all across the country in such roles as Ferdinand in Columbus and Theodore Sr. in Teddy Roosevelt. Among many regional credits, he appeared at the Forum Theater in The Jazz Singer and at NJ Rep in the reading of David Hyer's new play, Lying in State.
Susan Bob originated the role of Dee in Charles Gordone's Pulitzer Prize-winning play, No Place to Be Somebody, presented at Joseph Papp's Public Theater, the Promenade and on Broadway (Anta Theatre). She was nominated for Best Performance in a Leading Role by the Los Angeles Drama Critics for that role. New York credits include Rilke's Stories of God, directed by Paul Sills (New Actors Workshop), Still/Waiting for Lefty, (Water/Tribecca Playhouse) and Braille Garden, by Darrah Cloud (LATEA).
Designers are Andy Hall (set), John Demous (lighting), Patricia E. Doherty (costumes).
Tickets are $25. Harry and Thelma in the Woods is performed 8 PM Thursdays-Saturdays 2 PM Sundays. For information, call (732) 229-3166 or visit www.njrep.org.
— By Kenneth Jones