America's preoccupation with selling through ads is at the heart of the Yale Repertory Theatre's revival of the 1914 American farce, It Pays to Advertise, by Roi Cooper Megrue and Walter Hackett, opening Dec. 4 at the University Theatre in New Haven, CT.
Stan Wojewodski, Jr., Yale rep's artistic director and dean of the Yale School of Drama, directs. The work is set in 1914 New York City where a father fights with his son "for dominance in the soap business." According to production notes, "Cyrus Martin, a highly successful soap manufacturer, turns off the financial tap on his playboy son, Rodney, hoping only to reform the wayward boy. But the scheme works so well that Rodney decides he'll show the old man by fighting soap with soap and launches an aggressive advertising campaign targeting specially at a demographic of one — his father. While learning the importance of effective advertising, Rodney finds an unlikely ally in his father's secretary, the vivacious and very savvy Mary Grayson, and learns that love can be as slippery as soap."
The play first opened in New York in 1914 and played 399 performances. This was Megrue and Hackett's only collaboration, although both wrote many plays on their own (Megrue 16, Hackett 36).
The cast of the production at Yale's professional resident theatre includes Adam Greer (Rodney), Sarah Rafferty (Mary), Jack Davidson (Cyrus), Michael McGrath, Henry Russell, Bob Freschi, Matthew Humphreys, Drew Scott and Marnye Young.
Designers are Robin Vest (scenic), Melissa McVay (costume), Paul Whitaker (lighting) and Mimi Epstein (sound). Previews began Nov. 29. Opening is Dec. 4, with performances continuing to Dec. 22. The 650-seat University Theatre, one of three spaces used by Yale Rep, is at 222 York Street. Tickets range $22-$39. For information, call (203) 432-1234 o visit yalerep.org.
— By Kenneth Jones