It’s time to travel back to the 1930s for a rollicking good time on the rails as Theater To Go presents Ken Ludwig’s Twentieth Century at Mercer County Community College’s Kelsey Theatre.
A train trip from Chicago to New York City has lots riding on it, including the future of a legendary producer and his Broadway show. The show runs Jan. 26 through Feb. 4. A full list of dates and showtimes can be found at kelseytheatre.net.
The year is 1932 and Oscar Jaffe, an egocentric and eccentric Broadway producer, is in desperate need of a hit. Traveling with his entourage aboard the Twentieth Century Limited, he plots to entice his former lover and protégé, Lily Garland, a now famous Hollywood actress, to star in his next play.
Jaffe has less than 24 hours to persuade Lily to return to Broadway, with failure meaning game over for Jaffe. The twisting, turning story plays out at breakneck speed as oddball characters get entangled in his scheme and add to the chaos.
The cast features Tom Chiola, of Trenton, as Oscar Jaffe; Erin Leder, of Bordentown, as Lily Garland; Joyce Porter as Ida Webb; Barry Leonard as Owen O’Malley; Stan Karuzis, of Lawrenceville, as the Conductor; Dan River as the Porter; Jack Bathke, of Robbinsville, as Dr. Lockwood; Kate Blazo as Anita; Jake Zillioux as Mr. Clark; Jeffrey Milstein, of East Windsor, as Max Jacobs; and Charles Acosta as George Smith.
The original Twentieth Century, by Ben Hecht and Charles McArthur, was made into a blockbuster Hollywood film in 1934 starring John Barrymore and Carol Lombard. It has had several stage revivals, including a 1978 musical called On The Twentieth Century. This latest adaptation by Ken Ludwig ran on Broadway in 2004 starring Alec Baldwin and Anne Heche.
Tickets are $18 for adults, $16 for seniors and $14 for students and children. Tickets may be purchased online or by calling 609-570-3333. Kelsey Theatre is located on the college’s West Windsor campus, 1200 Old Trenton Road. A reception with the cast and crew follows the opening night performance on Jan. 26.