During the past few years, audiences have packed the house three different times to see Ray Cooney's zany sex farce, Run for Your Wife: once at Stage West Community Playhouse, twice at Richey Suncoast Theatre.
It's the story of nondescript taxi driver John Smith, who has two wives living only a few blocks from each other. Because of his irregular schedule, Smith pulls it off for years — until he becomes a hero and winds up on the front page of the paper.
It ends with John telling the outrageous truth and nobody believing him. So it seems that life goes on with nothing changed.
I've always wondered what happened after that. And now Cooney has written a sequel to let us know. It's called Caught in the Net, and Richey Suncoast is going to do the play Oct. 21 to Nov. 7 as part of its recently announced 2010-11 season.
"People love Ray Cooney's shows, they just love them," said Charlie Skelton, president of the Richey Suncoast board. The theater has done several of them: It Runs in the Family, Wife Begins at Forty and this season's Run for Your Wife and Funny Money come to mind.
In this one, John's two families are still blissfully unaware of each other, and his teenaged son by one wife and teenaged daughter by the other have found each other on the Internet and decided to meet in person.
John has to figure out how to keep them apart, even as upstairs neighbor Stanley brings his senile father into the household to mix up things even more.
The farce has gotten rave reviews when it played elsewhere, and it will, no doubt, fill the seats at Richey Suncoast once more.
So might the other five shows, four of which haven't been seen in this region for ages:
Sept. 16 to Oct. 3: Applause, the musical version of All About Eve, where the aging stage actress Margo Channing takes the innocent-looking but ambitious and conniving young Eve Harrington under her wing, only to have Eve betray her and everyone else as she back-stabs her way to the top;
Oct. 21 to Nov. 7: Caught in the Net (see above);
Nov. 26 to 28 and Dec. 3 to 5: Pasco Christmas — Snowy & Blowy, an all-new original by Skelton, set in Pasco County;
Jan. 13 to 31: Sin, Sex & the CIA, a sex farce revolving around oil reserves in the Chagos Island, OPEC's desire to secure them, the sex-starved secretary of state named Margaret who pursues an ex-Marine named Daniel as she tries to make a deal for the United States to get the oil, a hellfire-and-damnation televangelist, the Rev. Sam, and a sexy neighbor who drops in to the spend the night;
Feb. 24 to March 13: No, No, Nanette, an updated 1920s musical set on a summer weekend in New York and Atlantic City. In it, Jimmy Smith travels the country selling the Bibles he publishes and making friends with three lovely young ladies while his thrifty wife, Sue, stays at home. The Smiths' daughter, Nanette, takes off for the family cottage on the beach, where, unbeknownst to anyone, Daddy is staying with his three "friends" and Mommy has decided to spend a quiet weekend. Panic ensues, of course, with tunes like Tea For Two and I Want to be Happy; and
May 12 to 29: The Unsinkable Molly Brown, a romantic musical comedy based on the life of a real woman who survived the sinking of the Titanic and a dozen other disasters in her topsy-turvy life.
Season tickets are $60 for the five regular shows, or $70 for those five plus the Christmas special. Current ticket holders have until May 16 to keep their seats. Individual tickets will be $17 when they go on sale before each show.
The box office at 6237 Grand Blvd., New Port Richey, is open 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays a week before and during the run of a show and an hour before each show. Call (727) 842-6777.
The theater requests buyers pay with checks or cash in order to save the 2 percent service charge that credit card companies impose. (It adds up quickly.)
But plays and musicals aren't all that's going on at Richey Suncoast.
On Wednesday, magician Nathan Coe March will be back for a 2 p.m. show ($9); on March 17, Frank Parson's Big Band will do "Wearin' O' the Green," also at 2 p.m. ($10); on April 2, the theater joins with Marchman Technical Education Center to present the 29th Black Maria Film and Video Festival ($4) at 7 p.m.; on April 17 is "Ticket to Broadway" high school talent competition ($15); and on April 23 and 25 is the DooWop Show starring the Saints ($16).
Big news is that the Saints DooWop Show on April 24 ($20) will feature a guest performance by the Cadillacs, the 1950s group formed in Harlem, N.Y., and best known for their quick-time novelty tune, Speedo.
The group, which still has two of the original members, was passing through on its way to a big gig further south and agreed to join the show.
The theater continues the dramatic musical Evita weekends through March 14 and will do the teen-friendly musical Footloose from May 13 to 30.