Village Players to stage ‘Last of the Red Hot Lovers’ Sept. 6-21Written by Matt Liasse | | firstname.lastname@example.org
The Village Players Theatre will continue its streak of Neil Simon plays with “Last of the Red Hot Lovers.”
The play follows Barney Chashman (played by Zac Gilley), who is no longer satisfied with his marriage and embarks on a series of extra-marital affairs. The comedy shows Chashman isn’t able to lure women as easily as he hoped.
“Last of the Red Hot Lovers” is directed by Carol Ann Erford, who directed last year’s “From Up Here” and appeared in “Born Yesterday.”
“Last of the Red Hot Lovers” is one of Simon’s most recognized and one of the most requested by the audience, Vice President of Public Relations and Development Christopher Jagodzinski said in a news release.
Gilley is the only male cast member in the production.
“When I decided I wanted to do the show, it’s because I really wanted to play Barney,” Gilley said. “I love working with these ladies. There isn’t a rehearsal that I don’t learn something new. All three ladies bring different things out of me, and in turn, out of Barney that [makes] him an easily-relatable character. The process of working with them has only made me a better actor.”
Gilley is younger than Chashman is in the script.
“Even though I’m a little younger than Barney’s age, I feel like I’ve been through a lot of the same things so I thought it’d be a great chance to do some things over,” Gilley said. “He’s a guy that thinks a lot of his life has passed him by.”
Cindy Bilby, who plays the third of Chashman’s attempted affairs, said it’s just an obstacle to overcome.
“I think he also looks a little younger than he is,” Bilby said. “But we all stretch ourselves as actors and that doesn’t mean you can’t step into something that’s a little bit of a stretch.”
Gilley said he enjoys the resolution of the play and Chashman’s character growth.
“He wants something that’s not necessarily for him,” Gilley said.
Aggie Alt, who plays Chashman’s wife Elaine, said her character is “the epitome of the bored housewife.”
“She’s angry life didn’t turn out the way she wanted it to and she’s bored,” Alt said.
Alt did not audition for the part. Erford called her to offer her the part, as they have done theater work before. Alt got on board.
“I’m a big fan of Neil Simon. … He’s really got a handle on the human condition, if you will,” Alt said.
The Village Players previously did Neil Simon’s “The Dinner Party” and has plans to do “Proposals” in May.
“Neil Simon is one of America’s greatest play writers,” Jagodzinski said in an email. “His shows are both entertaining and contain plot lines that encourage his audience to think outside of the box. Our audiences have always been [fans] of Neil Simon’s work and The Village is dedicated to bringing our patrons productions that they will not only enjoy, but remember.”
The show will run Sept. 6-21. Tickets can be purchased at thevillageplayers.org or by calling (419) 472-6817.
Tags: Barney Chashman, Born Yesterday, Carol Ann Erford, Christopher Jagodzinski, Cindy Bilby, From Up Here, Last of the Red Hot Lovers, Neil Simon, Proposals, The Dinner Party, The Village Players, The Village Players Theatre, Zac Gilley