When a couple of English actors are down on their heels, criss-crossing the U.S., they find that donning women’s heels and cross-dressing may be the most lucrative roles they’ve yet assumed. There’s the frame for Ken Ludwig’s farcical Leading Ladies trodding the stage at the Playhouse.
Leo Clark and Jack Gable (get it?) take on the new roles in small Pennsylvania town during the late 50s. While hitting the Moose Lodge circuit, the chaps hit upon an idea to cash in on a wealthy death-bed widow’s yearning to pass on her bucks to dear English relatives. Turns out those kin are feminine. And the old dame still has a few of her marbles rolling around. Underneath those skirts, by the way, the boys are quite straight; Leo actually falls in love with a gal betrothed to a local minister.
Inevitably, this kind of stuff leads to mix-ups, double entendres, snappy banter and slapstick smacks. Present too are other earmarks of Ludwig-ism: vain, erratic, erotic, confused show biz types along with, in this instance, subtexts on what lies beneath the surfaces of art and of artists.
Ludwig has made his name on such stuff as these dreams are made on, e.g. Lend Me a Tenor, Moon Over Buffalo and Crazy for You.
“The beauty of Leading Ladies lies in its complex plot, superb dialogue, creative surprises and very funny lines,” penned Chicago Critic.
Doin’ The Varsity Drag.
Leading Ladies runs April 14-May 7, Hawks Mainstage Theatre,Omaha Community Playhouse, 6915 Cass St. Weds.-Sat.: 7:30 p.m. Sunday: 2 p.m. Tickets $18-$36 www.OmahaPlayhouse.org