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Little Colonel Playhouse

Pewee Valley actors to stage
‘Critics Choice’ in December

The play tells the story of
the drama in a play critic’s life

PEWEE VALLEY, Ky. (December 2014)  – “Critic’s Choice” is a play that opened at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre on Dec. 14, 1960. It will now be performed for several showings at the Little Colonel Playhouse in Pewee Valley, Ky.
Written by Ira Levin, the play ran for 189 performances, closing on May 27, 1961. Levin’s inspiration for the play was New York Herald Tribune drama critic Walter Kerr and his playwright wife, Jean.

Photo provided

From left, Nicholas Gabis, Cook Farmer, Candy Thomas, Rick Fletcher star in the play, “Critic’s Choice.”

It has been noted that Levin wrote the stage comedy as a good-natured retort to a comment made by Kerr. In his essay, “How Not to Write a Play,” Kerr noted that the worst possible scenario for a play would involve a drama critic forced to review a play written by his wife.
“It’s a very interesting play, and it is very well written,” said Bill Baker of the Little Colonel Playhouse. “We have a play reading committee that looks at plays to select what we’ll perform.”
He said the committee has “to keep in mind what the audience will like. The season ticket holders are an older crowd.” The play is directed by Teresa Wentzel.
Parker’s job as a New York theatre critic contributed to the demise of his first marriage, said Wentzel. “Now he’s put in a bind as to whether or not review the second wife’s play, which he wants to review honestly. It causes all kinds of comedic problems.”
This will be the second play Wentzel has directed for the Little Colonel Playhouse. She has previously directed plays for the Whodunnit Murder Mystery Theatre.
“The audience is certainly going to enjoy the comedic timing in the play,” said Wentzel. “All of the characters have rich roles.”
“Critic’s Choice” will be performed at 8 p.m. on Dec. 5-6 and 2:30 p.m. on Dec. 7. The play begins at 8 p.m. on Dec. 11-13 and at 2:30 p.m. on Dec. 14. Ticket prices are $15 for adults and $12 for seniors and students.
“Critic’s Choice” is a comedy in three acts, outlining the story of theatre critic Parker Ballantine whose second wife, Angela, writes a play titled,
“The Gingerbread World,” which ends up being produced on Broadway. As it turns out, the play is not very good, and Parker must decide whether or not to review the play honestly.
In 1963, “Critic’s Choice” was made into a film of the same name starring Bob Hope and Lucille Ball. The setting for most of the play’s action is the Ballantines’ Washington Square duplex apartment in Manhattan.
“Parker’s 12-year-old son, John, writes little blurbs for him,” said Barker. John is Parker’s son with his first wife, Ivy. Barker said the cast consists of seven characters:  Parker, Angela, John, Kion Kapakos (director of Angela’s play), Essie (the maid), Charlotte Orr (Angela’s mother) and Ivy London (Parker’s first wife).
In addition to writing several plays, Levin (Aug. 27, 2929-Nov. 12, 2007) also wrote the following novels: “Rosemary’s Baby,” “This Perfect Day,” “The Stepford Wives” and “Son of Rosemary.” He was 22 when he penned his first novel, the 1953 thriller “A Kiss Before Dying.” He followed the novel with his first play, “No Time for Sergeants.”
Levin’s career as a novelist and playwright spanned 50 years. He was a native of New York, having graduated from Horace Mann School and New York University. Levin won three Edgar Allen Poe Awards.
The Little Colonel Players opened the 2014-2015 season on Feb. 13 with “Guilty Conscience,” by Richard L. Levinson and William Link. Wentzel also directed this play.
The Little Colonel Players is an all-volunteer organization. The actors and Board of Directors volunteer their time and talent.
Reservations are available by calling (502) 588-1557. Tickets are $15 adults; $12 for senior citizen (60 and over) and students, cash or check only.

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