Jeff Baron's New Comedy, Brothers-in-Law, Premieres in Philly March 11

News   Jeff Baron's New Comedy, Brothers-in-Law, Premieres in Philly March 11
From the author of the popular Visiting Mr. Green comes Brothers-in-Law, a new comedy by Jeff Baron, premiering March 11-April 6 at Act II Playhouse in Ambler, PA, near Philadelphia.

Barrymore Award-winning director Harriet Power stages the play about — you guessed it — two brothers-in-law, in the context of their mother-in-law's funeral. Opening is March 14.

The "suspenseful comedy" stars two Barrymore Award-winning actors: Kraig Swartz as Richard, a bon vivant; and Tom McCarthy as Fred, a truck driver.

According to Act II, "In Brothers-in-Law, sparks fly — both funny and painful — as these two men, near strangers for 12 years, completely different in age and social class, face off on the afternoon of their mother-in-law's funeral."

Baron said in production notes, "I would call Brothers-in-Law a populist American comedy. I'm hoping you'll see yourself or someone you know in this play. I'm very interested in the special place in-laws have in a family. They're a part of things, but one step removed. Sometimes they can see the family more clearly than the blood relatives."

Director Power stated, "The term itself — in-law — suggests a relationship defined by legalities rather than free choice. In Brothers-in-Law, we witness two people — who couldn't be more different — come face to face, wrestle for power, for turf, for respect...and ultimately take those first tentative steps toward friendship. Jeff's play explores the universal (and often zany) dynamic of how we negotiate a place for ourselves in a family, particularly when we feel unseen or unknown. Every time I read this play, I laugh, nod my head in recognition, and feel a rush of uplift and surprise." Baron's first play, Visiting Mr. Green, starred Eli Wallach, and was nominated as Best Play by the Drama League. After its year-long run at the Union Square Theatre in New York, it has been translated into 22 languages and performed around the world in over 300 separate productions. His second play, Mother's Day, has been produced in Australia, Germany and Brazil and the U.S.

Baron was the recipient of a Theatre Communications Group/International Theatre Institute grant to work on his play Mr. & Mrs. God in Croatia. Edna and Joe Forever, which he wrote with Moe Angelos, will receive its world premiere next season in Germany.

Bud Martin is executive producer of Act II Playhouse.

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Act II Playhouse is an intimate 130-seat professional theatre located in Ambler, Montgomery County, PA. Each September-June season, Act II presents a mix of comedies, musicals and dramas. Three years after it opened, in 2002, Act II Playhouse was awarded "Best of Philly" Suburban Theatre Company by Philadelphia Magazine. Since Act II has become eligible for the Barrymore Awards (the Philadelphia equivalent of the Tony Awards), the Playhouse has received 24 Barrymore nominations and four Barrymore Awards, including Best Actor in a Musical to Tony Braithwaite in The Big Bang (2005), Best Leading Actor in a Play to Kraig Swartz in Fully Committed (2003, a co-production with Philadelphia Theatre Company) and the Charlotte Cushman Award for Outstanding Leading Actress in a Play to Susan Riley Stevens in Bad Dates (2006).

Act II operates under a Small Professional Theatre (SPT) agreement with the Actors' Equity Association.

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