Director: Joe Hoyt
Show Type: Regular
Synopsis: When a mild-mannered accountant accidently picks up a briefcase full of a gangster's 'Funny Money', we are off to an evening of fast-action hilarity. Crazy characters and unexpected twists and turns of plot will keep you laughing and guessing as Henry A. Perkins tries to take the money ans run! Funny Money is a hilarious show filled with energy, great characters and a fantastic plot.
A Passer By played by - Matt Lungaro
Betty Johnson played by - Kelly Padden
Bill played by - Wayne Puchkors
Henry Perkins played by - Robert Keating
Jean Perkins played by - Dawn E. DeVries
Sgt. Davenport played by - Fred Harvey
Sgt. Slater played by - Andy Leahy
Vic Johnson played by - Brian Giblin
A frantic farce Drama Group gears up for 'Funny Money' January 3, 2008 BY Don Snider Correspondent The Drama Group has something for anyone a bit stressed from the holiday season. The Ray Clooney farce "Funny Money" is staged this weekend and next at the Studio Theatre in Chicago Heights. The Ray Clooney farce "Funny Money" is staged this weekend and next at the Studio Theatre in Chicago Heights. A farce, to those not familiar with the genre, is more than just a comedy. » Click to enlarge image Vic Johnson (Brian Giblin, from left) and Betty Johnson (Kelly Padden) try to stop Sgt. Slater (Andy Leahy) from using the phone, as do Henry Perkins (Robert John Keating) and Jean Perkins (Dawn DeVries). 'Funny Money' When: 7:30 Friday, Saturday and Jan. 11 and 12; 2 p.m. Sunday and Jan. 13. Where: Drama Group's Studio Theatre, 330 W. 202nd St., Chicago Heights. Tickets: $15 for adults, $14 for seniors and students. Phone: (708) 755-3444. Web: www.dramagroup.org. Etc.: A 7 p.m. premiere tonight for season ticket-holders includes a wine and cheese reception prior to the full-run show. A farce, to those not familiar with the genre, is more than just a comedy. It is frantic, side-splitting humor that includes far-fetched situations, rapid-fire dialogue, slamming doors, mistaken identity and even a little (tasteful) hanky-panky. "Absolutely, that describes 'Funny Money,' " director Joe Hoyt said. "The laughter starts with opening curtain and doesn't stop until it closes." Clooney is considered a master of British farce, and many of his 30 or so comedies have been staged by the Drama Group and other community theaters in recent years. In Hoyt's opinion, " 'Funny Money' is the funniest." It even made it to Hollywood in 2006 with Chevy Chase in the lead role. "Clooney is a great writer for directors," Hoyt said. "He writes scripts that you laugh out loud just reading. Then he encourages directors to create their own physical comedy so it's layered." "Funny Money" revolves around Henry Perkins, an ordinary bloke who mistakenly winds up with a briefcase containing the equivalent of $5 million on the subway ride home. Mayhem and hilarity ensue as Henry tries to persuade his wife, Jean, to keep the loot and flee with him to paradise - while friends, mobsters, the cops and a dead body join the melee. Robert John Keating plays Henry, with Dawn DeVries portraying his wife, Jean. Also in the cast are Fred Harvey and Andy Leahy as the cops, Brian Giblin as one of the friends, Wayne Puchkors as Bill, and Matthew Lungaro as A Passer By. All are Drama Group veterans. "And everyone has at least one great moment," Hoyt said. This is Hoyt's first directing job with the Drama Group, but he directed his first play at age 16 in his hometown of York, Pa. He also has taught theater in Columbus, Ohio, public schools and in West Virginia and Kentucky before moving to the Chicago area in 1999. Having taken dialect classes, Hoyt said he is proud of the British accents, in various degrees from refined to Cockney, that the cast has perfected to give the farce authenticity. Hoyt has starred in several recent Drama Group productions, including "The Full Monty" as Jerry, "Picnic" as Hal and "Sunday in the Park with George" as the Boatman. He is married to Drama Group member Megan Falica-Hoyt, who is serving as production manager. They are alternating taking care of their 4-month-old daughter, Stella Rose, in their Dyer, Ind., home. Hoyt also is on the Drama Group board of directors and influenced an innovation for the troupe in its 71st season. While Friday is the official opening night, there will be a premiere tonight for full season ticket-holders. The event includes a wine and cheese reception at 7 p.m. A question-and-answer period with the cast and director will follow the show. "This is not a dress rehearsal but a full show," Hoyt said. "Hopefully this will catch on and be a reward for our season ticket-holders. "We'll be doing a three-quarter stage configuration, with Gil Oliva's set design at the Studio Theatre. All sides will be able see equally well." While there will not really be a roller coaster inside the theater, Hoyt assures that everyone will feel as if he or she has been on one by the time the farce has ended. "It'll be a thrill ride," he said. "And when it's over, you'll say, 'Wow, that was fun!' "