Classic Neil Simon comedy up next at Princess

The ‘Last of the Red Hot Lovers’ is Valentine special

Set building nears completion for “Last of the Red Hot Lovers,” opening in February at the Princess Theatre. Pictured, from left, are Elaine St. John, co-producer; Doug Hansen; Larelle Michener, set dresser; Gary Gilmore, and Joe Pomponio, set foreman. More than 20 people helped build the set, which is a 1970 apartment in New York City.

Richard Burger
Set building nears completion for “Last of the Red Hot Lovers,” opening in February at the Princess Theatre. Pictured, from left, are Elaine St. John, co-producer; Doug Hansen; Larelle Michener, set dresser; Gary Gilmore, and Joe Pomponio, set foreman. More than 20 people helped build the set, which is a 1970 apartment in New York City.



— One of the most amusing of playwright Neil Simon’s comedies will take the stage next month at Princess Theatre, 1228 Meade Ave., for five performances by the Valley Theater Company.

The show will run for five performances Feb. 16, 17, 18, 23, and 24. The Feb. 18 performance will be a matinee.

“Last of the Red Hot Lovers” is set in 1970 in New York City, and revolves around Barney Cashman, the married, middle-aged, over-worked owner of a seafood restaurant, who wants to join the sexual revolution before it’s too late.

Over about nine months, Cashman arranges a series of rendezvous with different women at his mother’s Manhattan apartment while she is at work.

The play is directed by VTC veteran SueEllen Davis, who will be making her directorial debut with the production.

“I always thought I had the skill set to direct,” said Davis. “I really like it.”

She had high praise for the play’s cast and production crew.

“I have a dream team,” said Davis. “Rehearsals are going great.”

Cast members are Eric Endres (West Richland) as Barney Cashman, Heather Ruane (Richland) as Elaine Navazio, Madison Fortney (Prosser) as Bobbi Michele, and Connie Hull (Richland) as Jeanette Fisher.

The production crew includes set designer Rick James, set dresser Larelle Michener, construction foreman Joe Pomponio, costume coordinator Mari Page, properties coordinator Sandy Pierce, lighting designer Madison Fortney, assistant lighting designer Zoe Wilson, sound designer and sound technician John Forrister, and hair and makeup designer Chris Flodin.

The show is co-produced by Candace Andrews and Elaine St. John.

“Everybody is on board,” Davis said.

She said the actors had their lines memorized early in the rehearsal schedule, and the set construction crew quickly accommodated even last-minute requests.

“Everyone is an overachiever,” said Davis.

More than 20 people participated in set building for the production.

Davis noted that the play, which is rated PG-13, presents somewhat of a paradox to the audience.

“It’s a play about immorality,” she said, “yet it has a very strong positive message about moral values.”

She also noted that, though the play is a comedy, it also has the potential to bring a tear to the eye.

“It’s a beautifully written play,” Davis said. “It will tug at your heart strings. It will be a nice ride for the audience.”

Tickets for “Last of the Red Hot Lovers” are available at Adventures Underground in Richland, Bonnie’s Vine & Gift in Prosser, Sixth Street Art Gallery in Prosser, and on the Princess Theatre website at ThePrincessTheatre.net.

The theater and box office will open at 7 p.m., and the performance will begin at 7:30 p.m. for evening performances.

For the matinee, doors will open at 2 p.m., and the show will begin at 2:30 p.m.

The theater’s adjoining Green Room will open at 6:30 p.m. before evening performances, for an adult pre-social.

The Green Room will also be open at 1:30 p.m. for the matinee.



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