Opening night is already sold out for the Bethany Area Repertory Theatre’s final production at the Dickens Parlour Theatre in Millville before their summer hiatus.
Director Rusty Hesse’s adaptation of the “saucy senior-scandal” originally written by Michael and Susan Parker, “Sex Please, We’re Sixty,” will feature plenty of laughs on the subjects of menopausal hot flashes, the age well past the age of sexual pinnacles and little blue pills being “popped like M&Ms.”
“It’s a laugh-a-minute kind of production,” said four-year BART veteran Jeff Martini, who will portray aging-lothario protagonist Bud “The Stud” Davis in the production after helping put on “Sex Please, We’re Sixty” in Arizona with the Sun City Grand Theatre Co. this past winter.
“It’s got some very interesting differences,” Martini continued, comparing the two adaptations. “These light-hearted comedies have really resonated with our audiences at BART over the years. It’s a terrific way to end the season.”
The story’s plot will center around “Bud the Stud,” who’s been spending his golden years hanging around the fictional Rose Cottage Bed & Breakfast, oozing his signature silver-tongued charm to the inn’s steady rotation of female passers-through, under the ego-derived delusion that it’s him and him alone that they’re all coming to see.
Of course, what would a story be without conflict? — with plenty of it stemming from the back-and-forth between Bud and the inn’s youthful, yet surprisingly prim-and-proper, proprietor, Mrs. Stancliffe, played by BART newcomer Audrey Fisher-Killen.
Things really heat up when three new guests of the inn, played by Susan McCoy, Barbara Ratcliff and Emily Abbot, are introduced to Bud, just after Bud is introduced to some new and highly-experimental pharmaceutical aid from his retired-chemist pal, played by Anthony Chiffolo — his “Venusia” pills being not exactly kosher when it comes to official FDA approval.
The British-style farce and promise of hilarity ensues from there, with Bud lusting after and juggling his courtship of the inn’s various guests while rushing in and out of rooms in the frantic style of the gang from “Scooby Doo,” as Bud and his Love Doctor pal eventually come to find out some hard truths about the error of their ways.
“You just have to see it to believe it,” said Martini of the fun. “This is a farce, so all of the stereotypes are just played out over the top.”
Heading into their opening performance after rehearsing for the past two months, Martini said that the mix of past BART favorites and newcomers has panned out to an ideal comedic cast.
“It’s a fun and really terrific cast, even outside of the play,” he said. “One of my favorite things about doing this is working with a group of people over a period of time and being able to put together a production that everyone is excited about. This group has just been a joy to work with.”
As of mid-week tickets had already sold out for opening night on Thursday, June 1, but they were still available for shows on Friday, June 2, and Saturday June 3, as well as three more shows the following weekend, spanning from Thursday, June 8, through Saturday, June 10.
As for next fall, BART and Dickens already have big plans for future performances, as well as for their “20-by-20” initiative, with aims of providing 20 scholarships to local students who plan on pursuing theater and the arts in college.
After awarding three scholarships last spring and three more scholarships to seniors at Sussex Central and Indian River High School just last month, the joint venture between BART and Dickens is still planning to provide two more scholarships before the end of the school year with proceeds from their latest performance.
“It’s a five-year plan, and we’re almost halfway there — so very proud of that,” said Martini. “We have some really big plans for growth in the future. Anyone who has any interest, whether they have experience or not, is certainly encouraged to reach out to us, because there’s a lot of opportunities.”
For a full list of performances or for tickets, visit www.dptmagic.com or call Dickens Parlour Theatre at (302) 829-1071. To get involved with BART in the future, contact the theater company at BARTinBethany@gmail.com or visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/BARTinBethany.
Dickens Parlour Theatre is located at 35715 Atlantic Avenue in Millville.