Steve Martin’s ‘The Underpants’ Starts Syracuse Stage Season
Syracuse Stage’s 2015-16 season starts October 21 with “The Underpants,” a guffaw-inducing comedy from the wild and crazy mind of the incomparable Steve Martin. In Dusseldorf, 1910, a very public wardrobe malfunction (a young woman’s underpants fall down at a parade—for the king!) becomes the talk of the town in this ribald update of an uproarious German farce. (Yes, there is such a thing.) Chockful of sexual innuendo, verbal jousting and non-stop laughter, “The Underpants” skewers the absurdity of instant fame. Bill Fennelly (“Hairspray,” “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”) returns to direct.
“The Underpants” performs Oct. 21-Nov. 8 in the Archbold Theatre at the Syracuse Stage/Drama Complex, 820 E. Genesee St. The opening night performance is Friday, Oct. 23, at 8 p.m. Tickets and info are available at http://www.syracusestage.org, by phone at 315-443-3275 and in person at the Syracuse Stage Box Office (Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.). Discounts are available for groups of 10 or more at 315-443-9844. Discounts are also available for seniors, students and U.S. military personnel and veterans. Sign interpretation, open captioning and audio description services are available for select performances.
As a farce, “The Underpants” is fast paced, very funny and the stakes are very high for the characters. Fennelly says that after first reading the play, he found it “laugh-out-loud funny” and could envision Steve Martin playing each role. Of the accomplished Syracuse Stage cast, Fennelly says, “They’re so smart and extremely funny,” and best of all, “They’re not afraid to be total idiots.”
A celebrated comedian, actor, screenwriter, producer, and musician, Martin first made his mark in show business as a writer for the “Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour” and as a recurring guest on “The Tonight Show.” As an actor, he has appeared in many films, including “Father of the Bride,” “Parenthood,” “The Spanish Prisoner” and “Bowfinger.” His many accolades include Emmy, Grammy and American Comedy Awards, as well as an honorary Oscar.
“What Steve Martin so humorously and expertly does is remind us that in the most human part of our hearts we all have very similar needs and desires, hopes, and fears,” says Fennelly. “Martin’s ‘The Underpants’ is many things. It is Steve Martin’s adaptation of Carl Sternheim’s 1911 scandalous and banned comedy ‘Die Hose.’ It is a probing satire of social constructs, gender roles, moral sensibilities and a male-dominated political system. And of course it is a rollicking, door slamming sex-farce. Yet, while all of these things are true, to me, most importantly and most immediately ‘The Underpants’ is a play about marriage.”
“The Underpants” cast includes Michael Brian Dunn (Benjamin Cohen), Marianna McClellan (Louise Maske), Tuck Milligan (Klingelhoff), Daniel Passer (Versati, the King), Sabrina Profitt (Gertrude Deuter) and Mark David Watson (Theo Maske).
Designers are William Bloodgood (scenic), Raquel Barreto (costumes), Thom Weaver (lighting) and Sarah Pickett (sound). The stage manager is Laura Jane Collins.
“The Underpants” sponsors are NBT Bank and Syracuse Symposium. The Media Sponsor is Business Journal News Network. The Syracuse Stage Season Sponsor is Syracuse Media Group.