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From the Summer Place Theatre Archives ...

Event date: 7/6/2001 7:30 PM - 7/15/2001 3:00 PM Export event
The Foreigner
Don Gingold
/ Categories: Past Shows

The Foreigner

Naperville Central HS Auditorium

 

A man in search of peace and quiet, 
finds just the opposite in this hilarious comedy.
Directed by: Brenda Gilmore   
Produced by: Brian Sommer
Asst. director: Holly Schuetz

The Cast:
Charlie - Mike Kolodziej
David - Robert Nardini
Catherine - Emily Bezdek
Ellard - Brian Sommer
Betty - Krystyn Wells
Froggy - Tom Ulbrich
Owen - Sean O'Brien

Set in a Fishing Lodge in rural Georgia, the play centers on Charlie Baker, a Science Fiction magazine editor whose wife is ill, and has been brought here to unwind by an army buddy of his, Froggy.  Charlie has one desire in his stay, and that is to have no one talk to him.  Froggy comes up with a plan:  pose him as a foreigner with no English skills.  Instead of keeping everyone away from him, Charlie finds everyone uses his supposed lack of English skills to their own separate advantage.  The locals assume Charlie does not comprehend them and speak freely in front of him.  The unintended consequences are not only uproarious but lead Charlie to uncover a scheme that puts him and his fellow guests in danger.  The play takes some turns into darker territory by including a forlorn debutante, her simple brother, her questionable preacher/fiance, the depressed lodge owner, and a County Assessor/Klansman with eyes on taking the Lodge in the name of the Invisible Empire. 

Directed by Brenda Gilmore, the play features Mike Kolodziej reprising the “Foreigner” title role as Charlie Baker (Mike played the role several years ago when Summer Place first produced it), Robert Nardini as Reverend David Lee, Emily Bezdek as Catherine, Brian Sommer as Ellard, Krystyn Wells as Betty, Tom Ulbrich as Froggy Le Seur, and Sean O'Brien as Owen. 

"The Foreigner" won two Obie awards, as well as two Outer Critics Circle awards as Best New American Play and Best Off-Broadway Production.

“The Foreigner” was premiered by the Milwaukee Rep, in January, 1983. It went on to be produced at the off-Broadway Astor Place Theatre, opening in November, 1984, under the direction of Jerry Zaks. In the New York show, the playwright, Larry Shue played "Froggy" and later Charlie Baker, the title character.  Shue was born in New Orleans on July 23, 1946, and grew up in Chicago.  A promising actor and playwright, his career was cut short at the age of 39 by the crash of a commuter plane on September 23, 1985 while en route to visit relatives in the Shenandoah Valley.  He left behind a small published body of work, including two full-length crowd-pleasing comedies that are a staple of community theatre repertory, “The Foreigner” and “The Nerd.”  The Foreigner was still running in New York at the time of Shue's death. He was working on a film adaptation of the play for Disney and a musical, which never came to fruition. 

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