Larry Shue's delightful play The Foreigner opens tomorrow night, Friday September 3 at Hale Theatre Centre in Gilbert's Historic District . Shue's rural, slightly dark comedy will entertain Hale Theatre audience's through October 16.
Four time AriZoni Award winner Lori Towne (and nominee for a 2010 AriZoni Award for her staging of Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd), returns to Hale where she directed last season's hit production of James Sherman's Beau Jest. The cast includes Eric Brekke as Charlie Baker (the foreigner of the title), Robert Holt as Sergeant Froggy LeSueur (Charlie's BFF), Rob Stuart as the Rev. David Lee Marshall, Barbara McGrath as Betty Meeks, Scott McGee as Owen, Mallory Adams as Catherine Simms and Stetson Holliday as Ellard Simms.
The Examiner talked with the play's Froggy, Robert Holt, about what Valley audiences will see with this new production of The Foreigner.
Q: You are the foreigner's best friend in Larry Shue's The Foreigner at Hale Theatre. How will you make your Froggy fresh and fun?
A: I don't know if you can do anything fresh with him as he is just a pretty regular bloke. He's a very friendly guy. He loves coming to Georgia and he wants to share this with his friend who is going through a rather rough patch. I don't know if there's a lot of complexity or subtlety to the guy. As an actor it's a fun part to play and I hope that will come through. I am having a good time playing him.
Q: Have you done any other shows with the Hale?
A: This will be my third show with the Hale Theatre. I did Lend Me a Tenor about a year and a half ago. In 2006, I did John Loves Mary with them.
Q: What other Valley theater companies have you worked with?
A: I have worked with SW Shakespeare. I was in The Tempest and London Assurance. I did Bluish with Arizona Jewish Theatre Company. I have also done a couple of shows with Algonquin Theatre Company in Peoria , Ron Hunting's Kennedy and A Few Good Men. With Phoenix Theatre I did Picnic in 2005.
Q: Do you have any funny/odd stage mishaps that you have had to deal with over the years?
A: Not so much me personally but I have been in productions that have had things go wrong. It happens all the time. The one I remember most was between acts in The Imaginary Invalid years ago. The actor playing the title role wheeled himself off stage in a wheelchair and knocked himself unconscious. He went right into a light pole. Between acts he was pretty much out. We extended the intermission a little bit until he could go on again. Just to make sure he would make it, we concealed smelling salts in our costumes.
Another mishap was between acts in A Streetcar Named Desire, the actress playing Blanche also walked into a light pole and then had a big black eye for the rest of the performance, which was very hard to conceal.
Q: Do you have a favorite role that you've played?
A: I really loved a play called The Drawer Boy. There's a wonderful character names Angus. It takes place on a farm in Canada. He's been through the war and suffered major trauma. The part balances a character who is seemingly mentally challenged but fiercely trying to remain independent.
Q: Are there any roles that you would like to play?
A: Of course! Willy Loman in Death of a Saleman come to mind. I played Biff when I was in my 30's. To play Willy is everybody's dream. I would really like a crack at Big Daddy in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof too.
Q: What's next for you?
A: I am not one of those actors that goes from show to show. I usually only do a couple of shows a year. I'm fairly selective on what I audition for. I have nothing planned but who knows what might come up?
For more information about The Foreigner's performance schedules and/or ticket prices and availability, please contact Hale Centre Theatre directly either ON LINE or the box office at (480)-497-1181.
Hale Centre Theatre 50 West Page Ave, Gilbert 85233