COVID-19 forced the Charlotte Players to close its production of Neil Simon’s Proposals back in March of 2020. After months of work, and many volunteer hours, preparing the office and theater with numerous virus precautions, the community theater staged its first production since the shutdown, Baggage, in mid-July.
Now, after a string of successful plays at the Langdon Playhouse and shows at the Charlotte Harbor Event and Conference Center, Proposals is returning.
“Director Jesse Reter-Choate did an amazing job last March, and her cast was outstanding,” said Charlotte Players executive director Sherrie Moody. “The play was a real hit with the handful of audiences who got to see it.”
Reter-Choate is again at the helm for the Proposals revival, which opens on Thursday, March 11, for a 15-show run through March 28. There are evening performances (Wednesday through Saturday) at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. Matinees and evening shows will be held on Saturday, March 27.
Tickets are $22 for adults and $11 for students and may be ordered at www.charlotteplayers.org or by calling 941-255-1022 between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. The Langdon Playhouse is located at 1182 Market Circle, Port Charlotte.
“The name Neil Simon attracted me to the play,” said Reter-Choate. “However, it is not your typical laugh-a-minute Simon play. It’s more of a memory play much like his Brighton Beach trilogy. He is a master at his craft and discovering his many fine layers of character and story-telling is invigorating.”
One of America’s most prolific and popular playwrights, Simon wrote more than 30 plays and received more combined Oscar and Tony Award nominations than any other writer.
Proposals takes place near a resort in the Pocono Mountains, not-too-many miles but a world away from the New York abodes that are the backdrop for most of Simon’s works. The Simon wit and humor are very much in evidence in Proposals, and the outdoor set designed and built by Chris Smith and Jimmie Choate (husband of the director and also serving as stage manager along with sound and lights) evokes a mellow and magical atmosphere.
There are jokes, of course. Loads of them. But there’s much more.
March comes in and goes out like a lion for The Players. Mentalist Bill Gladwell takes the stage for a 2 p.m. show at the Langdon on Sunday, March 7. A Players regular in recent seasons, Gladwell is not a mind-reader, psychic or magician. He calls himself a “thought-reader,” having mastered the unique art of reading and influencing people.
“During his 90-minute performance, Bill will seemingly pull thoughts directly from your mind, predict what you’ll say before it comes out of your mouth, and read you like an open book,” said Moody.
“Mind Games with Bill Gladwell” was rated number one on Hilton Head Island and in Gatlinburg, Tenn., where he went up against more than 60 other shows. He has performed for audiences as small as 10 people and as large as 45,000. Trip Advisor calls his performance “a mind-blowing show with lots of big laughs.”
Tickets for the Langdon are $22 for adults and $11 for students.
On Friday, March 26, Denise Fennel returns as “Sister” for one night only at the Charlotte Harbor Event and Conference Center, 75 Taylor St., Punta Gorda. This time, she is celebrating the Easter season with Sister’s Easter Catechism, answering such timeless questions like “Why isn’t Easter the same day every year?” and “Will my bunny go to heaven?”
During her 2 1/2-hour show, Sister will also unearth the origins of Easter bunnies, Easter eggs, Easter bonnets, Easter baskets, and of course, Easter Peeps. Classroom participation is a must, so don’t forget to wear your Easter bonnet and join Sister for this seasonal treat.
The fun starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $37 and $42 and may ordered through the Players website.