Neil Simon has very few rivals when it comes to scripting stage comedy. Others may do it darker, or edgier, or with more intellect, but Simon reigns supreme when it comes to reckoning the laugh count. Rumors, which originally debuted on Broadway in 1990, remains one of Simon’s funniest and most timeless efforts, and the City College Theatre Group cast for this production includes the most talented comedians in town, including Dan Gunther, Tiffany Story, and Nancy Nufer.
The action takes place in a posh Manhattan apartment where the deputy mayor’s friends are gathering to celebrate his 10th wedding anniversary. But the deputy mayor never quite makes it downstairs. It seems he’s shot himself, and the rest of the evening is spent in a delirious round of inquiries, delays, arrivals, and denials by a cast that includes a group in the know and a second lot who can’t quite shake the sense that something’s gone awry.
Despite the apparently topical references to personal misbehavior by public officials-not to mention subsequent attempts at a cover-up-the humor of Rumors does not come from political satire. When I spoke with cast member Joseph Beck (who plays Officer Ben Welch) recently about the show, he told me that it’s “not a statement play, but more a summer fun show.”
As for the stand-outs in the rehearsal process, Beck modestly identified two of the women, Tiffany Story and Lisa Gates. “Tiffany Story is Cookie, and she has some of the best one-liners” Beck said. “[And] Lisa Gates is a great actress who is returning to the stage for the first time in some years. She used to appear in productions at the Colony Theater in Los Angeles, and she and Officer Ben have a great exchange where she is trying hard to conceal what’s going on and everything she says has the opposite effect.”
Rumors will have its run at SBCC’s Garvin Theatre from Friday, July 11 through Saturday, July 26. Admission prices range from $14 to $21 for the public, and from $6 to $10 for students. For tickets and information, visit sbcc.edu/theatrearts/website/SBCCTG or call 965-5935.