Neil Simon is the quintessential New York comedic playwright, and his first ever farce, “Rumors” now graces the stage at the Lonny Chapman Theatre in the Noho Arts District. Neil Simon had the innate ability to combine pathos and humor, in everyday situations, resulting in his characters’ range of emotion and depth of feelings. The cast features the incredible talents of Todd Andrew Ball, Michele Bernath, Patrick Burke, Kent Butler, Fox Carney, Cheryl Crosland, Doug Haverty, LizAnne Kiegley, Hisatu Masuyama-Ball, Robert McCollum, and Debi Tinsley. The story seems far fetched, from the get go, as the opening scene is the 10th anniversary of Charley and Myra Brock. Yet, the hostess is missing; Charley’s hidden upstairs , bleeding from a gun wound, and the hired help are no where to be seen. The first guests arrive : Ken and Chris, who immediately begin weaving tall tales and assumptions on the mysterious circumstances and disappearances they observe. Next on scene are psychologist Ernie and wife, acclaimed TV chef, Cookie, who are eager to report the suspicious activities to local police. Lastly, politician Glen Cooper, and partner Cassie arrive, apparently in the midst of a domestic spat before the party. The fun of this farce is seeing firsthand how the characters stumble on their original stories, and how the plot slowly yet ever so surely unravels. What keeps everything together is the cohesive cast and their superb chemistry and performances. The set, costume design, and makeup are vintage/retro, a flashback to a more classic era, where men and women donned tuxes and evening gowns to dinner parties.
And the ‘rumors’ are true. Although the show has indeed been extended, it is soon coming to a close. So, be sure to get tickets. It’s well worth the scramble!