How the Other Half Loves opens at ICT April 30

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ict how the other half loves

Adam J. Smith, Erin Ann Williams, Jodi Fleisher, and James May. Photo by Shashin Desai.

Three couples, two dinner parties, one adulterous affair. International City Theatre presents How the Other Half Loves, the delicious comedy by Alan Ayckbourn that ingeniously juggles time and space to create a whirlwind of chaos, confusion and laughter. Todd Nielsen directs a four-week run April 30 through May 23, with low-priced previews beginning April 27.

In the madcap world of How the Other Half Loves, Bob Phillips (Adam JSmith) is having an affair with Fiona (DeeDee Rescher).  When it looks like Bob’s wife (Jodi Fleisher), and Fiona’s husband (Gregory North) are about to put two and two together, the guilty lovers use a third, unsuspecting couple (James May and Erin Anne Williams) as their alibi. The ensuing action leads to a string of misunderstandings with hilarious consequences.

What sets How the Other Half Loves apart from other farces is its unusual set: two living rooms in separate houses overlap on stage, allowing the audience to see and hear what’s happening miles apart and at different points in time—including the frantically hilarious scene when we witness the hapless third couple as Thursday night dinner guests in one home and Friday night dinner guests in the other—with all of the action occurring on stage simultaneously.

“[The idea] came about when I was living in one of those soulless blocks of flats, identical boxes piled one on top of the other,” explained Ayckbourn. “One or two friends lived in similar segments of this concrete honeycomb, and from time to time we visited one another. It became, I found, increasingly difficult purely because of the same-ness of the rooms and consequently identical furnishing arrangements, to remember whether you were in their house or your own. Particularly late at night, with the lights dimmed, mellowed with food and drink, you could have witnessed assorted couples, looking clandestinely at their watches, wishing the others would go home so they could go to bed. Each day, each of us, occupied more or less identical areas, trod the same well worn paths from kitchen to dining table, table to chair, chair to bed. It was a small step mentally, to superimpose one flat on another, emphasize the differences in the couples as they wove in and out of each other, pursuing their separate pleasures and traumas.”

Sir Alan Ayckbourn is the author of over 73 plays such as Absurd Person Singular, Bedroom Farce, Just Between Ourselves, Otherwise Engaged, A Chorus of Disapproval, and Woman in Mind. His plays have been translated into 35 languages and won numerous national and international awards including the 2009 Tony for Best Revival of a Play for The Norman Conquests. He is the long serving Artistic Director of the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough, where all of his plays have premiered before moving to the West End or Broadway.

Todd Nielsen returns to ICT where he previously directed Frankie and Johnnie in the Claire de Lune, Ray Cooney’s Tom, Dick and Harry, and HONK! Other directing credits: No Sex Please, We’re British and Squabbles (Norris Theatre);Charlotte’s Web (Nine O’Clock Players); White Christmas (Cabrillo Music Theatre); Lend Me A Tenor (Chapman University); Phantom (Moonlight Stage Prods, Vista CA); Ben Franklin in Paris (42nd Street Moon Theatre, San Francisco); Seesawand Out of This World (Musical Theatre Guild); Plaid Tidings (Oregon Cabaret Theatre) Thoroughly Modern Millie (Welk Resort); and Resident Director for the National Tour of Disney’s The Lion King. He has won awards, nominations and Critic’s Choice status for several productions including On the Twentieth Century, City of Angels, Rags, The Diviners, Working, A New Brain, You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown, King of Hearts, The Robber Bridegroom, The Skin of Our Teeth and The Matchmaker.

Jodi Fleisher (Theresa Phillips) appeared at ICT in A Circus Christmas Carol. Regional theater credits: Hippolytos (Getty Villa); Othello (Theatricum Botanicum); Lend Me a Tenor (Sierra Repertory Theater); Desperate Writers (Edgemar Center for the Arts); The Nun and The Countess (Macha Theater Company); Henry IV, Part 1 & 2 (Knightsbridge Theater); 42nd Street aboard the Norwegian Dream, plus her ongoing role as Treasure in “Pirates Dinner Adventure.”

James May (William Detweiler)’s credits include The Big RandomRent; the National Tour of Jingle Bell Rock; Mercury Fur (Ovation-nominated production); Hair (5 Ovation nominations, 6 LADCC nominations); the world premiere musicalGulls (Theatre @ Boston Court-understudy); Whizzer in Falsettoland; and the lead in the musical short film Boycrazy (available on DVD).

Gregory North (Frank Foster) At ICT: Ovation winning Caught in the Net. Broadway: Into the Woods, Secret Garden, A Christmas CarolGrand Hotel (opposite Cyd Charisse). Recently: Annie (Warbucks-San Diego Starlight), Peter Pan (Hook-OC Pavilion), Carousel (Reprise). Tours: PhantomShow Boat, FootlooseLes Miz. Regional (100+ shows): The Kennedy Center, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Buffalo Studio Arena, A Contemporary Theatre, Arizona Theatre Co., North Shore, Kansas City Starlight, Fulton Opera House, Sacramento Music Circus, Laguna Playhouse. L.A.: Hollywood Bowl, South Bay and Downey CLOs, Rubicon, Falcon, Colony. Film: In Good CompanyZombie Prom, Elizabethtown

DeeDee Rescher (Fiona Foster)’s credits include Garry Marshall’s Everybody Say Cheese (Falcon Theater); Red Herring, Richard Dresser’s The Pursuit of Happiness and The Underpants (all at Laguna Playhouse); Crimes of the Heart (Long Beach Playhouse); the one-woman Shirley Valentine (various venues throughout Southern California). In New York and Los Angeles, DeeDee starred with Jeff Goldblum and Ron Silver in El Grande de Coca Cola and appeared as Sally Bowles in several productions of Cabaret (Drama-Logue Award). Numerous television credits include HBO’s The ComebackMy Name is EarlJAGMalcolm in the MiddleFriendsThe Jamie Foxx ShowRoseanneCybill and Party of Five, with recurring roles on The Nanny and The King of Queens.  DeeDee will be featured in Disney’s new hit comedy series Good Luck Charlie Film credits include Skin DeepSummer SchoolCommunionOnce Bitten and the indelible lady bus driver in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

Adam J. Smith (Bob Phillips) LA/Regionally: Matter of Honor (Pasadena Playhouse), Three Sisters at Hollywood Forever Cemetery, Family Planning (both with Chalk Rep), Beauty (La Jolla Playhouse), Mozart & Strauss (as Mozart w/LA Philharmonic at Disney Hall), The Falcon, Black Dahlia, Yale Cabaret, Dramatists Guild West, The Complex, Manbites Dog, Doonce, Tennessee Williams Festival, and internationally at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Off-Broadway: Adobe Theater Company, Cherry Lane, HERE, and numerous Off-Off-Broadway. TV/Film: Medium, CastleWithout a Trace, Numb3rs, As The World Turns, Zombie Strippers, Action Hero, Deceit, among others. In 2006, he won an Emmy Award for starring in and hosting When Things Get Small, a wacky TV romp into the world of nanoscience.

Erin Anne Williams (Mary Detweiler) Theatre credits include LIVEworks (Acorn Pictures), The Odyssey (Los Angeles Theater Center), Yes Please and Thank You (original workshop at the Manhattan Theatre Club), and The Tempest (Long Beach Shakespeare Co). Film and web series credits include The Fall of 1980ChokeRedbeltThe Junior League of Superheroes, and Malcolm McChesney.

Set Design for How the Other Half Loves is by Stephen Gifford; Lighting and Sound Design are by Chris Kittrell; Costume Design is by Kim DeShazo; Property Designers are Patty and Gordon Briles; Casting is by Michael Donovan Casting; and Production Stage Manager is Patricia Loeb.

International City Theatre is the Resident Professional Theater at the Long Beach Performing Arts Center, and the recipient of the Margaret Harford Award from the Los Angeles Drama Critics’ Circle for “Sustained Excellence in Theater.”

How the Other Half Loves runs Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays at 8 pm and Sundays at 2 pm, April 30 through May 23. Tickets are $32 and $37 on Thursdays, and $37 and $42 on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, except opening night which is $50 and $60 and includes a reception with the actors following the performance. Preview performances take place on Tuesday, April 27; Wednesday, April 28; and Thursday, April 29 at 8 p.m. Preview tickets are $29. International City Theatre is located in the Long Beach Performing Arts Center at 300 E. Ocean Boulevard in Long Beach. For reservations and information, call the ICT Box Office at (562) 436-4610 or go to

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