International City Theatre Ends Season with Don't Dress for Dinner

Sep 11, 2013
Don't Dress for Dinner

International City Theatre bids au revoir to its 2013 season with a sexy, modern French farce, adapted for English-speaking audiences by Robin Hawdon from the original by Marc Camoletti (Boeing-Boeing). Directed by Todd Nielsen, Don't Dress for Dinner opens Oct. 11 at International City Theatre in the Long Beach Performing Arts Center. Two low-priced previews take place on Oct. 9 and Oct. 10.

Desire and infidelity take a hilarious turn when a secret affair turns into a comedy of errors rife with double entendre and charades of hilarious proportions. Greg Deralian (ICT's God of Carnage) stars as Bernard, whose plans for a romantic rendezvous with his chic Parisian mistress (Afton Quast - Justin Love at Celebration Theatre) come complete with a gourmet caterer (Karen Jean Olds - American Misfit at Boston Court) and an alibi courtesy of his friend, Robert (Matthew Wrather - Travesties at the Long Wharf). But when Bernard's wife (Amie Farrell - last seen at ICT in Bright Ideas) learns that Robert will be visiting for the weekend, she decides to stay in town for a surprise tryst of her own (with Michael Cusimano - The 39 Steps at Glendale Centre Theatre), setting the stage for a collision course of mistaken identities and outrageous infidelities with more twists than a corkscrew. The cook is Suzette, the lover is Suzanne, the friend is bewildered, the wife is suspicious, the husband is losing his mind - and everyone is guaranteed a good time at this tres amusant romp through the French countryside.

"This is pure, desperate, naughty fun from start to finish," says Nielsen. "We get to peer in on this lovable group of fools as they stumble and strain through a weekend of lusty anticipation that crashes and fizzles. Sometimes you just have to go through the crazy to get to the sane. And in the end, true romance wins the day!"

Following a successful two-year run in Paris, London producer Mark Furness commissioned playwright Robin Hawdon to adapt Camoletti's farce - originally penned as a sequel to Boeing-Boeing and titled Pyjamas Pour Six - for the London stage. The re-titled Don't Dress for Dinner ran for six years at the Duchess Theatre in the West End (where ICT artistic director caryn desai was first taken with it) before opening on Broadway at the American Airlines Theatre in a Roundabout Theatre production.

Marc Camoletti (1923-2003) authored more than 40 plays and became a Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur (the French equivalent of knighthood). His theater career launched with three plays running simultaneously in Paris. His first major international success was Boeing-Boeing, which opened in Paris in 1960 and had a 19-year run. The debut London production of Boeing-Boeing ran for seven years and 2,000 performances, and it has gone on to become the Guinness Book of Records entry for "most-performed French play worldwide." The Paramount film starred Jerry Lewis, Tony Curtis and Thelma Ritter. Ten of Marc Camoletti's plays have also been produced for television. His work continues to flourish in numerous languages and some 55 countries.

Robin Hawdon started his career as an actor, appearing in London's West End in productions with John Gielgud, Ralph Richardson, Sheila Hancock and Kenneth Williams. In 1982, he decided to focus on writing and directing. His plays include The Mating Game, The Old Devils (an adaptation of Kingsley Amis' novel), Revenge, Birthday Suite, Don't Rock the Boat, and God and Stephen Hawking. His novels include A Rustle in the Grass and The Journey.

Todd Nielsen returns to ICT for his seventh production. Previously for ICT, he directed the Los Angeles Times "Critic's Choice" hit production of Terrence McNally's Master Class; The Robber Bridegroom; How the Other Half Loves; Frankie and Johnnie in the Claire de Lune; Ray Cooney's Tom, Dick and Harry; and HONK! Other credits include The 39 Steps for Glendale Centre Theatre, The Sound of Music and White Christmas for San Diego Musical Theatre; Neil Simon's Proposals for the Norris Theatre; Dames at Sea for the Colony Theatre; The Wiz for AMDA; Company and Urinetown for Chapman University; 1776 for Glendale Centre Theatre; and Little Me and A New Brain for Musical Theatre Guild. Todd also acted as resident director for the national tour of Disney's The Lion King. He has won awards, nominations and Critic's Choice status for several productions including On the Twentieth Century, City of Angels, Rags, The Diviners, Working, A New Brain, You're a Good Man Charlie Brown, King of Hearts, The Robber Bridegroom, The Skin of Our Teeth and The Matchmaker.

Set design for Don't Dress for Dinner is by JR Bruce; lighting design is by Donna Ruzika; costume design is by Kim DeShazo; sound design is by Dave Mickey; props are by Patty and Gordon Briles; production stage manager is Katherine Cannon; and casting is by Michael Donovan Casting.