The prolific comedian Jack Benny, some may recall, used a running gag about being 39 years old throughout his long career on radio and television. Playwright Marv Siegel incorporated the joke in his play “Jack Benny’s Not 39 Anymore,” which will be performed May 17-25 at the Charlotte Players’ Langdon Playhouse in Port Charlotte.
“If you are expecting to see Jack Benny, you might be disappointed, although I don’t really think so, because I am sure you will enjoy exploring life with Norman and Edna Bender and their family and friends,” said director Jenni Elliott.
Like Benny, Norman is as young as he feels. Suffering from retirement remorse, he hatches business schemes to fill idle hours. Edna, his loving wife, is delighted her new neighbor, Rosemary, has a son who may be a match for their daughter. When widowed Rosemary recognizes Norman and reminds him of their youthful, romantic past, Edna is threatened and works to keep their offspring apart, hoping it also keeps Norman and Rosemary apart. Not only hilarious throughout, but the play has an ending that has audiences gasping.
“If there is any message within this play, it is probably that you should not jump to conclusions before you know all the facts,” Elliott said. “However, it is not intended to give you a learning experience. As with all theater, its primary purpose is entertainment and I know you are going to be entertained by this play and our wonderful cast of actors.”
That cast includes a skilled group of popular Players regulars — Gene Callan, John DiGiovanni, Kyle Marie, Larry McGee and Paula Pender – and talented newcomers to the company Barbara Hawkins and Lee Hakeem. Stage Manager Jeanne DeYoung, Costumer Paula Jones and Set Designer Chris Smith continue their outstanding work, assisted by “Cultural Adviser” Rick Stannard.
See how it all comes together at the Langdon at 7:30 p.m. on May 17 and 18, or in a matinee at 2 p.m. on May 19. The following week, showtime is 7:30 p.m. May 22-25. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased online at www.charlotteplayers.org or by calling the box office at 941-255-1022. The Langdon Playhouse is located at 1182 Market Circle, Port Charlotte.