Complete with villains, heroines, and spirited hissing and booing from the audience, Dale Easton’s The Drunkard was adapted from a 19th Century straight-up temperance play, but skews the once-serious theater piece from its anti-liquor stance into an over-the-top satire, with live ragtime piano, that mocks both temperance and melodrama acting.
ARTS, Inc. presents Topeka’s longest-running play at VFW Philip Billard Post 1650, 3110 SW Huntoon. Opening night on July 16 will be the 909th performance, which then runs Friday and Saturday nights throughout July.
The Drunkard has been highly-anticipated summer theater fare in northeast Kansas for decades. Over the years so many local actors have performed in it that each year the cast is like a reunion, with newcomer actors quickly coming into the fold with this seasoned production. The Drunkard has become a strong tradition among local audiences who love it and return to see it time after time.
Philip Grecian not only will reprise his starring role, but will produce and direct the play. He has been in theatre his whole life, and has played multiple characters in the production.
Morgan Boyer, a Kansas State University theatre student, joins the cast this year, but has literally been a part of the production since before she was born – her mother was pregnant with her while performing in the show!
Dane Shobe, who plays the villain for fifth time, is also the assistant director and producer.
Karen Hastings, a name that has been synonymous with theatre throughout Kansas, has appeared in the play many times, and is still involved with the production behind the scenes. Hastings is the founder of ARTS, Inc.
To complete the vaudeville presentation, an olio performance at the conclusion of the show will present a collection of classic comedy short routines.
Curtain is at 8:00 p.m. each night; on-site ticket sales begin at 7:00 p.m. Advance tickets are $12; $15 on-site. For advance tickets go to www.eventbrite.com/e/dale-eastons-the-drunkard-tickets-160228719413.
ADA Notice: The performances are downstairs at the VFW’s “The Last Chance Lounge” and offer no elevator. The VFW performance space is not accessible to wheelchairs. It is accessible to guests using walkers and canes via stairways or a separate chair lift entrance. For special walker and cane-related ADA entry arrangements, use southeast entrance for chair lift services. Call 785-235-9073 M-F from 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. for more information.
Check out Arts, Inc website (https://americanregionaltheatresociety.org/) for more information about the play and to learn more about the cast and crew.
–Lee Hartman | Metro Voice
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