Thursday, August 16, through Sunday, August 26
Richmond Hill Barn Theatre, 600 Robinson Drive, Geneseo IL
With the New York Times lauding Tony Award- and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Neil Simon for “writing at his ebullient best” and “making us laugh so effortlessly,” the playwright's California Suite will enjoy an August 16 through 26 staging in the Richmond Hill Barn Theatre's 50th-anniversary season of returning audience favorites, marking the popular comedy's first performance at any area venue since 2007.
The stage inspiration for the 1978 film hit that won an Oscar for co-star Maggie Smith, California Suite is Simon's series of humorous vignettes all set in the same luxury hotel in Beverly Hills. In “Visitor from New York,” Hannah, a magazine writer, is joined by her ex-husband William to decide with whom their daughter should spend the next six months. “Visitor from Philadelphia” finds middle-aged wife Millie arriving at the suite while her husband Marvin tries desperately to hide a passed-out prostitute. In “Visitor for London,” Academy Award nominee Diana Nichols prepares for the ceremony, and endures its aftermath, with her gay husband Sidney. And in “Visitor from Chicago,” two couples come to the merciful end of a disastrous vacation they should never have shared. Simon's famed quips fly fast and furious in this 1976 smash that ran for more than a year on Broadway, with Chicago Theatre Beat writing, “The incisiveness of [Simon's] wit is driven by an insight into everyday humans and the cultures from which their habits are derived.”
Serving as California Suite's director is Richmond Hill veteran Dana Skiles, who directing credits have included Amy's Wish and Rounding Third and who has appeared as a performer in such Geneseo productions as Dearly Beloved and Independence. The comedy's cast, meanwhile, features a half-dozen actors familiar to Richmond Hill patrons: Matthew McConville (The Diviners), Jessica Moore (Sex Please, We're 60), Jackie Patterson (The Importance of Being Earnest), Jason Schaad (The Robin Hood Caper), Nicholas Waldbusser (Flowers for Algernon), and Elle Winchester (Inherit the Wind).
California Suite runs Thursdays through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m., tickets are $12, and more information and reservations are available by calling (309)944-2244 or visiting RHPlayers.com.