The 20th Century Limited was one of the most well-known trains in the world, with famous, infamous, and not-so-famous passengers intermingling with each other while basking in the lap of luxury for 16 hours between Chicago and New York City.
For the final show of the Hudson Players season, the legendary train and its zany passengers are the brought back to life in "On the Twentieth Century," a classic screwball comedy musical with book and lyrics by Adolph Green and Betty Comden and music by Cy Coleman.
Show dates are April 28 and 29, May 5, 6, 12, 13, 14, 19 and 20. Curtain Time is 8 p.m., except for the Sunday May 14 performance which is a special 2 p.m. matinee. Reserved seating, group, senior and student discounts are available. For current ticket information go to www.hudsonplayers.com or call the box office at 330-655-8522. It is suggested to order tickets early so as not to get shut out as happened to some patrons during the recent sold-out run of "Mary Poppins."
Love and mischief collide on the tracks when down on this luck and bankrupt theater producer Oscar Jaffee, the flamboyant impresario with a sinking reputation after four flops in a row, embarks on a madcap mission to cajole the glamorous Lily Garland, a Hollywood star and former Jaffee protg -- and lover -- into playing the lead in his new, and currently nonexistent, epic drama. Is the 16-hour train ride long enough to reignite the spark between these former lovers, create a play from scratch, and find the money to have it produced on Broadway? Throw in a rival producer with his own agenda, a wealthy religious nut, Oscar's henchmen and various passengers and crew members that add zest to the merry, madcap journey.
Part operetta, part farce and all fun, "On the Twentieth Century" is a fun night of musical theatre. The winner of five Tony awards during its original run back in the late '70s, the show featured John Cullum, Madeline Kahn and Kevin Kline. A Broadway revival in 2015 showcased Kristin Chenoweth's talents as Lily.
Dave Stebbins is the show's director and musical director. His last outing for Hudson Players was "Spamalot," another crowd-pleasing zany musical. Ron Jones, most recently musical director for "Mary Poppins," is the assistant musical director. Amie Gabel is the choreographer and Tim Steiner has designed an amazing set along with serving as technical director for the show. Gary Maher and Jennifer Matas are the producers.
The characters of Oscar and Lily are played by Don Bernardo and Chandra Porter. Mike Guffey and Sean Donovan play Oscar' loyal henchmen, while Jim Wolf is Lily's new boyfriend. Nathan Hill plays the role of a rival producer and Sharon Lloyd is the wacky religious nut who may or may not have the money to fund Oscar's new venture. Brian Diehl plays multiple roles, including a congressman caught in an embarrassing situation and Shelley Palumbo is a diva from Oscar and Lily's past. Genevieve Adelman, Brenda Willis, Carol Tymchenko, Chantel Covino, Len Reinker, Chris Macchione and Benjamin Mudrak round out the cast playing a variety of passengers, porters, reporters and photographers
Hudson Players performances are presented at the Barlow Community Center, 40 S. Oviatt St., in Hudson. Handicapped seating is available.