With Tenor Warming Up Its Broadway Voice, Ludwig Prepares His Next Farce

News   With Tenor Warming Up Its Broadway Voice, Ludwig Prepares His Next Farce Playwright Ken Ludwig, whose celebrated comedy Lend Me a Tenor returns to Broadway this spring, will take another swing at farce in 2010-11 with A Fox on the Fairway.
Ken Ludwig
Ken Ludwig

"One set, six characters, a crazy knockabout play set in the world of golf," Ludwig said of his latest creation, to bow the Washington, DC, area this fall. "It's about two rival golf clubs and their yearly tournament. It's so much fun, and I hope touching in the style of Lend Me a Tenor."

Tony Award nominee Ludwig has long proven himself a master of the madcap, and like many of his earlier works, A Fox on the Fairway is billed as a door-slamming romp, rife with mistaken identities and romantic escapades. But Ludwig uses each new project as a learning experience.

"All my comedies since Lend Me a TenorMoon Over Buffalo or Leading Ladies or Be My Baby — every one leads me to get better at my craft, to understand the whole sense of what it is to write a comic play," Ludwig told Playbill.com.

Ludwig first burst onto the theatre scene with Lend Me a Tenor, which opened to great success in London and won two Tony Awards upon its transfer to Broadway in 1989. Next up was Crazy For You (1992), choreographed by Susan Stroman, which won the Tony and Olivier Awards for Best Musical. Moon Over Buffalo (1995) brought legendary comedienne Carol Burnett back to Broadway. (He was Tony-nominated for Best Book of a Musical for Crazy for You and Best Play for Lend Me a Tenor.) Most recently, Ludwig's adaptation of Treasure Island was produced at the Theatre Royal Haymarket in London in 2008. His Be My Baby, Leading Ladies, The Gershwins' An American in Paris and Shakespeare in Hollywood have played U.S. regional theatres in recent years.

The Tony Award-winning Signature Theatre Company of Arlington, VA, will produce A Fox on the Fairway Oct. 12-Nov. 14. Signature calls it "a furiously-paced comedy that recalls the Marx Brothers' classics." For all the frenzied, screwball antics in his plays, Ludwig is philosophical about what he hopes to achieve each time he sits down to write. "I try to move the ball a little closer to a sense of sanity and humanity in our world," he said. "That's what I write. That's what our lives should be, we deserve it. We deserve sane, happy lives."

Casting has yet to be announced for A Fox on the Fairway. John Rando (Urinetown) will direct.

The new Broadway revival of Lend Me a Tenor, starring Tony Shalhoub and Anthony LaPaglia and directed by Stanley Tucci, will open at the Music Box Theatre on April 4 after previews from March 11.

Ken Ludwig (second from left) with <i>Lend Me a Tenor</i> team Justin Bartha, director Stanley Tucci, Jay Klaitz, Tony Shalhoub and Anthony LaPaglia
Ken Ludwig (second from left) with Lend Me a Tenor team Justin Bartha, director Stanley Tucci, Jay Klaitz, Tony Shalhoub and Anthony LaPaglia Photo by Matthew Blank