BANNER ELK — Experience the classic comedy that is “The Good Doctor” as Lees-McRae Theatre Arts takes to the stage to perform the award-winning Broadway play Nov. 14 to 17.
“The Good Doctor” was a hit when it debuted on Broadway in 1973 and has continued to delight and captivate audiences through the years. The play consists of 10 short scenes adapted from and inspired by the short stories of 19th century Russian author and playwright Anton Chekhov.
“Audiences can expect absurdity, wordplay and lots of fun,” Joshua Yoder, show director and assistant professor of Theatre Arts, said.
“It’s sort of a mash-up,” Yoder explained. “(Neil) Simon wrote it as an homage to Chekhov, and the play combines Simon’s wit and silliness with Chekhov’s depth and humanity.”
The play begins with an unnamed writer alone on stage, surprised to find his work interrupted by an auditorium full of spectators. He proceeds to narrate his stories to the audience, becoming more and more animated as the comic sketches spring to life around him.
In one scene, a government clerk accidentally sneezes on his boss and hilariously makes things worse through constant over-apologizing. In another, a debonair womanizer gets his comeuppance. In still another scene, a love story between two elderly acquaintances plays itself out as a miniature musical.
“The scenes are witty and cartoonish, but there’s a lot of heart there too,” Yoder said. “It’s a warm and whimsical show.”
Simon, who died last year at the age of 91, was widely considered to be America’s greatest comic playwright. During his 40-year career, he wrote more than 30 plays, nearly as many screenplays, and received a combination of 17 Tony and Oscar nominations. He is perhaps best known for his 1965 classic, “The Odd Couple.”
The title of the play refers to Chekhov himself, who was a physician in addition to being a writer. He once said in a letter that medicine was his lawful wife, but literature was his mistress.
“The Good Doctor” is presented by special arrangement with Samuel French, Inc., a Concord Theatricals Company. The play is rated PG for mildly suggestive humor and innuendo.
The ensemble cast is composed entirely of Lees-McRae students, including Samuel Kohler, Tanner Funderburk, Alice Gomez, DeVon Thomas, Elise Wright, Concepcion Mendoza, Sydney Lyles, Sarah Gentry, Jesse Morris and Jakob Sanchez.
Logan Bryant, Bethaney Green and Taylor Noll will serve as assistant to the director, stage manager, and assistant stage manager, respectively. Alumnus Jarrett Koski ’12 will also serve as production stage manager.
“The Good Doctor” will run at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, Nov. 14 to 16, and at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 17, in Hayes Auditorium and Broyhill Theatre on the campus of Lees-McRae. Tickets may be purchased online or at the door one hour prior to showtime. All seating is general admission. Tickets are $12 for adults and $5 for students.