Alpena Civic Theatre turns to comedy for fall production

Courtesy Photo Cast in Alpena Civic Theatre’s production of “The Sensuous Senator” are front row left, Marilyn Kettler, Madeline Young, Rosina Phillips and Gina Schultz. Standing from left are Bruce Michaud. Nick Hartman, Jim Phillips and Curt Hampton.

Director Scott Edgar wants to assure audiences there’s no high-handed political message attached to Alpena Civic Theatre’s comedic fall offering, “The Sensuous Senator.” Instead, patrons can expect some silly PG-13 fun when the show by playwright Michael Palmer opens next week for a two-week run.

“This is just completely coincidental. It’s not aimed at anybody,” Edgar said about the fact the production centers around a legislator of questionable moral character.

He first encountered the playwright back in 2013 when he co-directed Palmer’s “Sex Please, We’re Sixty.” Audiences quickly warmed to the humor in that show, and Edgar expects the same reaction again this time around.

“It’s a scream,” he said.

The premise behind “The Sensuous Senator” is that Senator Harry Douglas is announcing his candidacy for president. Though he’s running on a platform of morality and family values, his personal life doesn’t add up. With his wife out of town and his usual paramour, Veronica, unavailable, he calls an escort agency and makes a date with Fiona.

Bedlam ensues as Harry’s colleague, Senator Clyde Salt, appears on Harry’s doorstep as a weekend guest. Veronica also turns up, along with a tabloid reporter and an over-zealous police officer. Further complicating matters are some sleeping salts inadvertently ingested by the wrong person. Somehow, most of these characters end up together in the same bed.

“It’s a fast paced show,” Edgar said. “People are going over the bed, under the bed, out of doors, in doors, up and down the stairs, with Benny Hill’s ‘Yackety Sax’ playing off and on during the action.”

Cast in the production are Nick Hartman as Sen. Harry Douglas, Rosina Phillips as his wife, Lois, and Marilyn Kettler as his paramour, Veronica. Bruce Michaud appears as Congressman Clyde Salt, while Curt Hampton plays Congressman Jack Maguire. Madeline Young portrays Fiona, Gina Schultz plays the tabloid reporter and Jim Phillips is the policeman.

Edgar said the cast, which includes a mix of newcomers and seasoned performers, is doing an admirable job with the show. He’s also pleased with the set, that features a sturdy king-size bed able to accommodate all the people getting in and out of it.

“We have a beautiful set. I learned a lot from Chip Lavely,” Edgar said of the late actor/director/set designer with whom he co-directed “Sex Please, We’re Sixty.”

Contructing the set were Edgar, Jay Kettler and Ted Rockwell, who also is serving as assistant director. Other production team members include Debbie Edgar as stage manager and Kettler as light designer.

“The Sensuous Senator” runs Oct. 18-21 and Oct. 25-28, with show times at 7:30 p.m. Thursday to Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. For reservations, call the box office at 354-3624.