The Lafayette Society for the Performing Arts presents Neil Simon’s “Plaza Suite” on May 3, 4, 5, 11 and 12 at 7:30 p.m., and May 6 at 2:30 p.m. at the LSPA Black Box Theater, 214 Bull St. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students. Those who purchase tickets for the May 3 show may attend a reception at Stephens Exclusives at 22 Main St. from 6 to 7 p.m. Tickets may be purchased at Hill Street House, Plum Southern and the LSPA, or by calling 706-822-9099.
Relationships can be complicated, but they’re something that everyone can relate to. That’s the thrust of the upcoming Lafayette Society for the Performing Arts presentation of “Plaza Suites” – taking everyday situations and giving them a comedic twist.
“The best thing about Neil Simon (writer of the play) is that he makes real-life comedy, it’s not forced,” said director Ryan McWhorter. “The whole play is about relationships … I think people will find themselves or someone they know in all of the characters.”
The play is broken up into three vignettes, each with different characters, that takes place in the same hotel. For the LSPA production, the same cast will portray the main characters throughout the three acts.
Shawn Morvay, stage manager, recently stepped into the lead male roles after the previous actor had to leave suddenly.
“This is my first time as a lead character,” Morvay said. “Being three different people is a huge challenge.”
Nylsa Dunbar has been involved with the LSPA since 2008 and worked both being the scenes and onstage. This is her fourth production with the group.
“The opportunity to play all leading women roles is a blast,” Dunbar said. “They are three very different women and hope my performance will portray three different women.”
Heath Clark plays the waiter and bellhop, the only consistent character throughout the three acts, giving characters advice as they each face their unique situations. This is his first production with the LSPA, having been involved in prior productions in West Point and Valley, Ala.
“What I find really fantastic with the show is that Neil Simon is a brilliant writer and these situations are so real,” Clark said. “These are things people think about, but are afraid to say.”
The first act focuses on work-a-holic husband Sam Nash and his wife Karen, who are at the hotel on their anniversary. Karen Nash is concerned that her husband is having an affair and she wants to reclaim the happiness they had when they were younger.
The second act focuses on Hollywood producer Jesse Kiplinger meeting old flame Muriel Tate, now a suburban housewife. Jesse is a hot-shot ladies’ man and Dunbar describes Muriel as a “little nervous spitfire” trying to revisit her youth.
The third act visits Roy and Norma Hubley on the wedding day of their daughter Mimsey, played by Jenna Sargent, who has looked herself in the bathroom and refuses to come out.
“They’ve spend a lot of money and a year planning this wedding and are trying to get her out of the bathroom,” said Sargent, who also is assistant stage manager for the show.
The show will premiere May 3 and those who buy tickets for opening night also will be able to attend a pre-show reception at Stephens Exclusives across from the LSPA building. Starting at 6 p.m., they shop will serve organic wine from California to attendees.
“We will have a setup with a dining room table and couches,” said Darlene Stephens, owner of the store. “It will have a very home-like feel.”
She added that Stephens Exclusives frequently does outreach, fundraisers and partnerships with local groups. The company doesn’t charge the LSPA for the reception and there is no additional cost to ticket buyers, and the store is promoting the show to its customers.
“We wanted to make opening night more special,” said LSPA executive director Mike Burks. He added that the LSPA may continue opening night receptions for future plays.