Welcome to the Hotbed Hotel, which is the title of the Charlotte Players’ April offering at the Langdon Playhouse in Port Charlotte. The title establishment is the “one-star” Turtle Beach Hotel in the Florida Keys, which is going through hard times and is on the market.
When the husband-and-wife owners hear that a prospective New York buyer has flown to nearby Miami and is coming to inspect the hotel, they hurriedly put together a plan to make the place seem busier than it is. Their staff will masquerade as paying guests, giving the impression that the hotel is overflowing with loyal customers and vacationers.
“When I select a play to direct, the first rule is, it has to be funny,” said director Jerry Jones. “Actually, that’s also the second and third rule. It must be funny, funny, funny. And that’s the best way to describe Hotbed Hotel.”
Jones said, “Even better, the play is also sexy, which you kind of figure out from the title. It’s written by Michael Parker, who also wrote plays with his wife, Susan, who described their works as ‘naughty but nice.’ That certainly holds true for this play.”
The Parkers met when Susan acted in some of Michael’s plays. They were married on South Venice beach in Florida in 2004 and began writing together. Their collaborations included two Charlotte Players hits, “Sin, Sex & the CIA” and “Sex Please We’re Sixty.” Sadly, Michael died in 2019, but he left a wealth of plays that will continue to set box office records in this country and abroad.
“Not only does a Parker play pull in an audience, it also pulls in great actors,” Jones said. “This is a big cast – nine roles – and I was amazed at the large turnout at auditions. Not only did we get a lot of people, we got a lot of very talented people. Some of them I’ve seen in other Parker plays and they had me rolling on the floor.”
Jones also complimented set designer Chris Smith, who “did a fantastic job with a very complex set,” and costumers Richard Itczak and Pam Jones.
“We’ve got a big cast with multiple costume changes,” he said. “We probably use enough costumes for a handful of plays.” Hotbed Hotel opens on Thursday, April 15, for a nine-show run through April 25. There are evening performances (Thursday through Saturday) at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday matinees on April 18 and 25 at 2 p.m. Purchase tickets at www.charlotteplayers.org or by calling 941-255-1022. The Langdon Playhouse is at 1182 Market Circle, Port Charlotte.