A fast-paced farce to tickle your funny bone

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(Photo courtesy Greenbrier Valley Theatre)
Mark Chambers as Groucho/Samovar and Edward Tolve as Chico/Carlo in GVT’s 2018 production of A Day in Hollywood, A Night in the Ukraine.

Greenbrier Valley Theatre (GVT), the State Professional Theatre of West Virginia, proudly presents Ken Ludwig’s A Comedy of Tenors.

The critically acclaimed farce runs May 17 and 18 at 7:30 p.m., May 23-25 at 7:30 p.m., and May 30-June 1 at 7:30 p.m., with a matinee performance on May 25 at 2:30 p.m. and a Pay-What-You-Can Preview Performance May 16 at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets are $30 for general adult admission, $27 for seniors (60+) and $20 for children/students. For more information, call the GVT Box Office at 304-645-3838 or visit www.gvtheatre.org.

A side-splitting ride from start to finish, Ken Ludwig’s comedy is non-stop hilarity. In glamorous 1930s Paris, Producer Henry Saunders is ready to throw the concert of the century, but only if he can keep the star, Tito Merelli, and his wife Maria, in line. Showtime draws near, tempers flare and chaos reigns, but the show must go on.

With a new twist behind every door and a surprise around each corner, such a fast-paced show is not something just any actor can pull off. Mark Chambers, who will be portraying opera singer Tito Merelli, knows how to keep the farce going full speed. Chambers has previously been in a few Ludwig plays, as well as other farces, and especially enjoys the exaggerated theatricality that makes the show so funny.

With over 50 years onstage, this veteran actor also likes being able to utilize many of the skills he has learned over his impressive career.

“I enjoy the amped up style of true farce. It is always fun and hard work,” Chambers said. “Then you throw in the operatic nature of the show with the musical number and one gets to exercise overlapping skills which often lay dormant for years.”

To compliment Chambers onstage, is returning actor Blaire Baker, whose history is predominantly musicals. Baker made her GVT debut in the 2018 musical comedy A Day in Hollywood, A Night in the Ukraine. The actor holds a BFA from the University of Arizona, and some of her favorite jobs are Bullets Over Broadway and Guys and Dolls.

While this show has provided its own share of challenges, Baker has been enjoying the work and the chance to use what she already knows to develop new skills that can only help her in the future.

“This show always keep me on my toes and it just seems to race by… I guess time flies when you’re having fun,” Baker said.

With very different histories that create such an exciting dynamic perfect for a Ludwig farce, both actors agree that this production is meant to bring pleasure above all else; a goal worthy of all the work needed for such a show.

The program is presented with financial assistance from the WV Division of Arts, Culture & History, and the National Endowment for the Arts, with approval from the WV Commission on the Arts.