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Hot Summer Nights’ 2012 Season-Opener, “Boeing-Boeing,” Is a Classic French Farce by Marc Camoletti

Ben Nordstrom and Lauren Barone star as the fickle Bernard and his girlfriend Gabriella in "Boeing-Boeing" (photo by Lauren Kennedy)

Ben Nordstrom and Lauren Barone star as the fickle Bernard and his Italian girlfriend Gabriella in "Boeing-Boeing" (photo by Lauren Kennedy)

Hot Summer Nights and its new larger parent company, Theatre Raleigh, will kick off their ambitious 2012 season with a sizzling professional production of Boeing-Boeing, Beverley Cross’ English adaptation of a classic French farce by Marc Camoletti (1923-2003), on June 13-17 and 20-24 in the K.D. & Sara Lynn Kennedy Theatre in back of the Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Raleigh, NC. Boeing-Boeingdebuted in Paris on Dec. 10, 1960; and Beverley Cross’ English adaptation premiered in London in 1962 and then ran for seven years in the West End.

According to Hot Summer Nights:

Boeing-Boeing tells the story of an architect [named Bernard, played by Ben Nordstrom] living in Paris who has been successfully juggling three flight-attendant fiancées [Lauren Barone as the Italian, Gabriella; Lilly Nelson as the German, Gretchen; and Cameron Wade as the American Gloria]. All the while, [Bernard’s] housekeeper [Mike Raab — in drag — as Berthe] reluctantly plays the romantic air-traffic controller as they fly in and out of his swank bachelor pad.

“But when an old school pal [Bryan T. Donovan as Robert] visits, things get rather turbulent. Schedules change, flights are delayed, and chaos ensues in this hilarious whirl of mayhem and matchmaking.”

Boeing-Boeing made its Broadway debut, directed by Jack Minster, on Feb. 2, 1965. But that production only ran for 23 performances.

The 2008 Broadway revival of Boeing-Boeing, directed by Matthew Warchus, opened on May 4, 2008 at the Longacre Theatre, where it played for 279 performances before closing on Jan. 4, 2009. This revival won two 2008 Tony Awards® — for Best Revival of a Play and for Best Actor in a Play (Mark Rylance as Robert) — and was nominated for Tonys in four other categories. Boeing-Boeing also won the 2008 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Revival of a Play.

Jessica Bogart, who was part of the cast for the 2008 Broadway revival of Boeing-Boeing, is directing the Hot Summer Nights and Theatre Raleigh production of the show. “Pregnant with my first child,” says Bogart, “I was happy to accept a job standing by backstage for the three air-hostesses. I performed each role many times opposite the genius Mark Rylance. It was incredible fun, and I learned a great deal from such a seasoned master.”

She adds, “As with most farces, this show is a true team sport. It is so much fun creating it together, that we find ourselves crying with laughter several times a day at rehearsal.”

The cast includes (from left) Lilly Nelson as Gretchen, Lauren Barone as Gabriella, and Cameron Wade as Gloria, three flight attendants engaged to the same guy (photo by Lauren Kennedy)

The cast includes (from left) Lilly Nelson as Gretchen, Lauren Barone as Gabriella, and Cameron Wade as Gloria, three flight attendants engaged to the same guy (photo by Lauren Kennedy)

When the curtain rises on Boeing-Boeing, says Jessica Bogart, “Bernard (Ben Nordstrom) is a young, successful American architect who currently resides in a luxurious Paris apartment, assisted by his French maid, Berthe (Mike Raab). His love life is scheduled and planned meticulously according to the airline timetables, due to the fact that he is engaged to three different women: Gloria (Cameron Wade), Gabriella (Lauren Barone), and Gretchen (Lilly Nelson) — all air hostesses on different airlines with different routes.

“On one fateful spring day, however, Bernard is visited by his old friend Robert (Bryan Donovan); and through a series of complications, finds that his finely tuned method of keeping his three fiancées separated is far from perfect,” says Bogart.

In addition to director Jessica Bogart and artistic director Lauren Kennedy, the Hot Summer Nights and Theatre Raleigh creative team for Boeing-Boeing includes technical director and set and lighting designer Chris Bernier, costume designer LeGrande Smith, properties manager Richard Young, sound designer Will Mikes, sound engineer Bryan Hitzgrath, and stage manager Tiffany Owle. Also working hard behind the scenes are executive director Alan Campbell, publicity and media relations director Hilary Russo, associate artistic director Adam Twiss, and general manager Michele Weathers.

“Our major challenge [in staging Boeing-Boeing] was to find an actor who could create the role of Robert Lambert with a fresh, dynamic, hilarious approach,” confesses Jessica Bogart. “We were lucky enough to cast the brilliant Bryan Donovan, who will undoubtedly — with the help of his wildly funny supporting cast — have the audience doubled over laughing in their seats.”

She adds, “We are keeping the set for Boeing-Boeing very clean[, with s]traight lines, neutral colors, [and] tasteful modern furnishings…. The lighting for [Boeing-Boeing] will be kept rather neutral as well, allowing the bold colors of the costumes to really pop out from the scenery. We will be using some window templates on the fourth wall to help establish the time of day.

“The costumes for this show will be true to the 1960s fashion,” says Hot Summer Nights and Theatre Raleigh guest director Jessica Bogart, “as we are using patterns from the era. Each airline hostess will have distinctive style with suits, gloves, scarves, and hats. Think sexy and short — and fun! [A]s Berthe says at the end of Act I, ‘ Drink up. We’re in for a bumpy night….'”

In addition to Boeing-Boeing (June 13-17 and 20-24 in the Kennedy Theatre), Hot Summer Nights and Theatre Raleigh‘s 2012 season will present Dames at Sea (July 5-8 and 11-15 in the Kennedy Theatre); David Mamet’s ripped-from-the-headlines drama Race (July 25-29 and August 1-5 in the Kennedy Theatre); Robert Lopez’s whimsical Broadway musical Avenue Q (August 15-19 the A.J. Fletcher Opera Theater); the musical revue Oh, What a Night 2 (Aug. 31-Sept. 2 in the Kennedy Theatre); Stephen Temperley’s biographical drama Souvenir, starring Lisa Jolley as wealthy socialite and would-be singer Florence Foster Jenkins (Oct. 3-7 and 10-14 in the Kennedy Theatre); and Tracy Letts’ dark comedy August Osage County (Nov. 29-Dec. 2 and Dec. 6-9 in the A.J. Fletcher Opera Theater).

SECOND OPINION: June 6th Raleigh, NC BWW News Desk preview: http://raleigh.broadwayworld.com/article/Jessica-Bogart-to-Direct-BOEING-BOEING-at-Kennedy-Theatre-613-24-20120606.

Hot Summer Nights and Theatre Raleigh present BOEING-BOEING at 8 p.m. June 13-16, 3 p.m. June 17, 8 p.m. June 20-23, and 3 p.m. June 24 in the K.D. & Sara Lynn Kennedy Theatre in back of the Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts, 2 E. South St., Raleigh, North Carolina 27601.

TICKETS: $24 ($20 students, seniors, and active-duty military personnel), except $30 June 13th.

BOX OFFICE: 866-811-4111 or https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/cal/27655.

INFORMATION: 919-480-5166 or info@hotsummernightsatthekennedy.org.

SHOW/PRESENTER/SEASON: http://www.hotsummernightsatthekennedy.org/.

VENUE: http://www.progressenergycenter.com/venue/kennedy-theatre.

DIRECTIONS/MAP: http://www.progressenergycenter.com/directions.

PARKING: http://www.progressenergycenter.com/parking.

OTHER LINKS:

The Play (background): http://www.boeingboeing.co.uk/ (official U.K. West End website), http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing-Boeing_(play) (Wikipedia), and http://www.ibdb.com/show.php?id=2133 (Internet Broadway Database).

The Script: http://books.google.com/ (Google Books).

The Playwright: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marc_Camoletti_(playwright) (Wikipedia).

The Director: http://broadwayworld.com/people/Jessica-Bogart/ (BroadwayWord.com).

EDITOR’S NOTE:

Robert W. McDowell is editor and publisher of Triangle Theater Review, a FREE weekly e-mail theatrical newsletter that provides more comprehensive, in-depth coverage of Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill theater than all of the other news media combined. This preview is reprinted with permission from Triangle Theater Review.

To start your FREE subscription to this newsletter, e-mail RobertM748@aol.com and type SUBSCRIBE TTR in the Subject: line.

To read all of Robert W. McDowell’s Triangle Theater Review previews and reviews online at Triangle Arts & Entertainment, click http://triangleartsandentertainment.org/author/robert-w-mcdowell/.

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