The Hippo


May 28, 2020








Bedford Off Broadway presents Leading Ladies. Courtesy photo.

Leading Ladies 
Where: Old Bedford Town Hall, 3 Meetinghouse Road, Bedford 
When: March 9 through March 18, with showtimes on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m. 
Tickets: $12 general admission, $10 students, seniors and military. Purchase online or at the door. 
More info:

Loads of laughs
Leading Ladies comes to Bedford


 Bedford Off Broadway starts its 2018 season on a high note with the laugh-out-loud theatrical farce Leading Ladies, opening Friday, March 9, at the Old Bedford Town Hall. 

The play, written by Ken Ludwig, premiered in 2004. It follows the story of two young Shakespearean actors, Leo and Jack, who are down on their luck and find themselves playing out a con in rural Pennsylvania in the late 1950s. The con entails convincing an ailing elderly woman, Florence, that they are her long-lost nephews, Max and Steve, whom she seeks to include in her multimillion-dollar inheritance. What Leo and Jack don’t realize, however, is that Max and Steve are actually “Maxine” and “Stephanie,” Florence’s nieces. In the spirit of Shakespearean plays, which traditionally starred men in female roles, the actors decide to move forward with the con, posing as women. Hilarious chaos ensues when Jack falls for Florence’s aide Audrey; Leo falls for Florence’s other niece Meg, whose fiance Duncan grows increasingly suspicious of “Max” and “Steve;” and Leo decides to put on a Shakespeare play at Florence’s estate to impress Meg, who is a big Shakespeare fan. 
“It’s a very farcical throwback to that Monty Python-type cartoonish comedy,” director Aaron Foss said. “There are a lot of puns and one-liners, and a lot of physical comedy: grabbing and pulling at each other, kissing and fighting, and a lot of over-exaggerated actions and slapstick interaction.” 
While casting the eight-person cast, Foss looked for people who could appreciate the play’s ridiculousness and “weren’t afraid to go over the top.” 
“The nature of the show, with men dressing up as women, is so outlandish and absurd, so it was important to find people who enjoy that kind of comedy and could do well in those roles,” he said. 
One of those people is Sarah Richardson, who plays Meg. Richardson hasn’t performed in community theater for two years, but when she read the script for Leading Ladies, she thought it was the perfect play for her comeback. 
“I’m a very physical actor, and there’s a lot of physicality in this show. It’s high-energy, top to bottom,” she said. “This is probably one of the funniest roles I’ve ever gotten to play, and the most fun I’ve ever had on stage.” 
Richardson was drawn not only to the play’s comedic style, but also to Meg’s character, who maintains some complexity amid the silliness of the play; Meg undergoes a transformation from a woman who settles for a mediocre life to a woman who seizes new opportunities and goes after what she wants. 
“She’s very vivacious, energetic, witty and smart, but she was living a sheltered life in a small town, which, to her, was normal because she didn’t know any differently. That changes when she meets these characters, Maxine and Stephanie, who show her that there’s more to life if she just takes some chances,” Richardson said. “Something about that really connected with me and hit me on a personal level.”
Foss said the show is family-friendly with clean and classic humor that will resonate with everyone. 
“It doesn’t matter if it’s kids, families, people who dislike Shakespeare, anyone,” he said. “Everyone can get in on the joke and laugh and have a good experience.”  

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