The Play That Goes Wrong, the hilarious Tony Award-winning hit Broadway comedy, will make its Tampa debut at the Straz Center’s Morsani Hall, Oct. 16-21, as part of Bank of America Broadway at The Straz also sponsored by the Tampa Bay Times.
Co-written by Mischief Theatre company members Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields, The Play That Goes Wrong is a riotous comedy about the theatre. The play introduces the ‘Cornley University Drama Society’ who are attempting to put on a 1920s’ murder mystery, but as the title suggests, everything that can go wrong … does, as the accident-prone thespians battle on against all odds to get to their final curtain call.
Entertainment Weekly calls The Play That Goes Wrong “Hilarious! Non-stop pandemonium.” The Huffington Post calls it “The funniest play Broadway has ever seen!” And the New York Post says it’s “Broadway’s funniest and longest-running play! Nothing is as fall down funny. GO.”
The Broadway production of The Play That Goes Wrong opened at the Lyceum Theatre on April 2, 2017. The show, which was slated to close on Broadway in August of this year, will extend its run due to popular demand through Jan. 6, 2019. By then, the Broadway production will have played 27 previews and 745 performances, making it the second longest running show in the history of the Lyceum Theatre. The Play That Goes Wrong received a Tony Award for Best Set Design, Broadway.com’s Audience Choice Award for Best Play, and the Theater Fans Choice Award for Best Play.
It is a remarkable rags-to-riches story for a play which started its life at a London fringe venue with only four paying members of the public at the first performance and has gone on to play to an audience of more than two million people around the world.
Mischief Theatre, the Olivier Award-winning theatre company led by Artistic Director Henry Lewis and Company Director Jonathan Sayer, was founded in 2008 by a group of graduates of The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA) and began as an improvised comedy group. Mischief Theatre performs across the UK and internationally with improvised and original scripted work.
It was a pleasure to sit down with one of the featured players of The Play That Goes Wrong, Blair Baker, who is also a member of our LGBT community, for this Hotspots Central exclusive interview.
At what age did acting become an interest?
I grew up in theater, but it didn’t really dawn on me that is was something I can do as a profession until I saw the Heiress starring Cherry Jones. I was introverted and this play is about an introverted person who finds her power, and it got me excited about acting.
What was your fist paid gig?
A commercial for Abington hospital in Philadelphia. This was also my first commercial audition and I was 20 years old.
When did you know acting/performing would be your career?
As soon as I figured out I wanted to do it at 11, I started training and went to acting classes, acting school and conservatory in New York. I immediately committed to it and never really had a plan B.
What was your favorite role other than the ones in this show?
A year ago I was lucky enough to play Hamlet in a gender non-conforming Hamlet. A lot of the roles were switched. It was a very cool production.
What is your fantasy role?
I would love another crack at Hamlet. I also really want to play the Cherry Jones Role in The Heiress as I think it would be an amazing way to go full circle.
How is to being an out gay person travelling with a show?
It’s very interesting and wonderful. For the first time in my life, I have fully accepted who I am. I wasn’t in the closet, I just wasn’t very forthcoming with the information. Since playing Hamlet I fully now embrace my sexuality and my gender non-conforming presentation. This is the first time I am being my full self and I am loved and accepted by everyone on the cast.
What should our readers expect from: The Play That Goes Wrong?
Hilarity, as it is such a fun time. I saw it when it first opened on Broadway and I am a very serious theater goer, but this play made me laugh the entire time. The play has something for everybody. I still laugh to this day.
The Play That Goes Wrong will play the Straz Center’s Morsani Hall, Oct. 16-21. Performances are Tuesday-Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 and 7:30 p.m. Regularly priced tickets are $51-$125 and may be purchased by calling 813.229.STAR (7827), in person at the Straz Center Ticket Office or online at strazcenter.org.
For more information on The Play That Goes Wrong, go to: BroadwayGoesWrong.com.