Not everyone is crazy in this asylum

Paragon Theatre offers fine cast in little-known 'The Curious Savage'

Preview

September 28, 2000|By Mary Johnson | Mary Johnson,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Continuing its trend of bringing seldom-performed plays to its dinner theater, the Paragon Theatre is presenting John Patrick's "The Curious Savage" beginning tomorrow at the theater at Trifles Restaurant in Crownsville.

Patrick, a playwright of the 1940s and '50s, is best-known for his 1953 hit, "Teahouse of the August Moon." Written in 1951, "The Curious Savage" is a light-hearted, character-driven farce that takes place in the 1950s at an asylum housing gentle eccentrics.

Ethel Savage's late husband has left her 15 Savage Co. businesses worth $10 million. Widow Savage sells the businesses and converts the proceeds into negotiable bonds.

Having devotedly nursed her husband through his final illness, Ethel now relishes her new freedom and independence. She ventures into the arts scene and hopes to establish a fund to help people reach their potential and realize their dreams. When her adult stepchildren discover that their father has left his widow a fortune now in highly negotiable securities, they develop plans for committing their far-from-crazy stepmother to a sanitarium so they can get her inheritance. But where's the money? The kids can't find out, and only Mama knows.

Paragon promises a strong cast for this production. The role of Ethel Savage will be played by Mary Alice Feather, a distinguished actress for 49 years. She once played Mary to director Herman Kemper's Tyrone in Eugene O'Neill's "Long Day's Journey Into Night." Feather's performance promises to reveal all facets of the delightful non-crazy eccentric Ethel Savage.

New York actor Craig Myers will be seen as the avaricious stepson Titus. Branch Warfield plays asylum psychiatrist Dr. Emmett, and Tiffany Anne Schaffert plays Emmett's colleague Nurse Willie.

Last seen in Paragon's recent success "Moon Over Buffalo," Marta Caulfield returns as inmate Florence, whose maternal longings for her son, who has been taken by authorities, are expressed by her carrying a doll throughout the play.

Other returning Paragon favorites include the gifted Eva Jean Berg, who plays inmate Mrs. Paddy; talented actor Bill Hughes, who plays inmate Jeffrey; and Maria-Helena Diaz, who plays the evil stepdaughter Lillie Belle.

Rounding out the cast are Moriah Spector as inmate Fairy May, Ted Ying as inmate Hannibal, and Roy Kelman as stepson Samuel. Together they pose the question of who is crazy - the inmates or the visitors?

In addition to Paragon founderand co-owner Herman Kemper directing, the company's co-owner Greg Kemper serves as producer and set designer, and his brother Joe is technician.

Before the show, there is full-service dining. Beverages and dessert are included in the $35 price.

Continuing through Nov. 12, performances will be Fridays and Saturdays with dinner at 6 p.m. and performances at 8 p.m. On Sundays, dinner is at 5 p.m. with the show at 7 p.m.

Reservations and information: 410-923-6600.

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