Best Medicine Rep, Gaithersburg’s professional theater company, is gearing up for its ambitious sixth season with five new comedies in the hopper: The Trip by Crystal V. Rhodes, Rapunzarella White by June Rachelson Ospa and Daniel Neiden, America’s Sexiest Couple by Ken Levine, and two plays by John Morogiello: In the Gutter and Blame It On Beckett.
“Since this is probably going to be our last season at Lakeforest Mall, we’ve decided to increase our programming by 25%,” declares author and Artistic Director John Morogiello. “It’s going to be a fun season. The scripts display a wide range of comic subjects and styles. Our audience will love them.”
Kicking off Season 6 is The Trip by Crystal V. Rhodes. The story concerns four lifelong friends who embark on a pair of hilarious road trips twenty years apart. Can they rebuild the bridge that connected them without drowning in the water beneath? The production runs September 9 – October 2, 2022. It’s a fun, ensemble comedy directed by Yvonne Paretzky.
“We were supposed to present The Trip last season,” observes director Paretzky, “but the omicron variant had other plans. We’re excited to get the opportunity to finally mount this wonderful play.”
Morogiello agrees, saying, “We’re excited that most of the creative team from last season is still in place. They’re a tight-knit group and play off of each other well.”
The Trip stars Hana Clarice, Erica Irving, Devin Nikki Thomas, and Jacqueline Youm, fresh from her star turn in Nollywood Nights at Round House, as the four friends.
In time for the holidays, Best Medicine Rep tries something new: a family musical called Rapunzarella White. Written by June Rachelson Ospa and Daniel Neiden, the play throws three different fairy tales into a comic blender to great effect. When an evil witch curses triplet girls (Rapunzel, Cinderella, and Snow White), they can only be rescued by three princes in this fun musical for all ages. The production runs November 26 – December 11, 2022, on an all-matinee schedule.
“We had a couple of productions of this play in New York which were wildly successful,” explains co-author June Rachelson Ospa, “We look forward to bringing it to Gaithersburg.”
“It was pretty fortuitous,” adds Morogiello, “June came to see last season’s production of Die, Mr. Darcy, Die! and I mentioned that we were looking for something fun, like a British pantomime, for the holidays. The next day, I had the script in my hands, loved it, and here we are.”
Directing Rapunzarella White is Jacqueline Youm. “To go from performing in The Trip immediately into directing Rapunzarella White is a lot,” observes Youm, “but I like to keep myself busy with as many theater projects as I can. They’re so much fun.”
AMERICA’S SEXIEST COUPLE
In the new year, Best Medicine Rep continues to celebrate the work of Emmy-winning writer Ken Levine in our next production, America’s Sexiest Couple. Levine’s television credits include MASH, Cheers, The Jeffersons, Wings, Frasier, The Simpsons, Everybody Loves Raymond, and more.
Morogiello can’t help but gush. “Ken is a legend. We’re proud of our association with him and his work. His plays are funny and bring people together, and that’s what our theater is about.”
America’s Sexiest Couple is about a pair of aging sitcom actors (think Ted Danson and Shelley Long) who are reunited to see whether the spark they felt in their youth was true or merely acting. It runs January 6 – 22, 2023, and will be directed by Kathleen Barth. Starring in the production are Fletcher Lowe, Kari Luther, and John Morogiello.
Author Levine hopes to fly out to see the production at some point, saying, “I enjoy John [Morogiello] as both a writer and a performer, and I especially enjoy that Best Medicine Rep likes my work.”
IN THE GUTTER
From February 24 – March 19, 2023, Best Med will present the world premiere of John Morogiello’s In the Gutter, directed by board member and audience favorite Stan Levin. The play is a fantastic parody of film noir, with money, murder, and a nosy neighbor played by another audience favorite Rebecca A. Herron.
“I’m always happy to be directing a Morogiello play; John is a phenomenal writer,” declares director Levin. “He’s captured the style, rhythm, and plot of a 1940s noir thriller perfectly, and turned it into something hilarious.”
“This was the play I wrote during the lockdown,” explains Morogiello. “I was watching a lot of Turner Classic Movies and had nothing better to do.” The script was developed as part of the New Works Virtual Festival in Chicago. This will be its first production.
BLAME IT ON BECKETT
The season closes with another play by John Morogiello, Blame It On Beckett. Set in the literary office of a regional theater, Blame It On Beckett is a comedy about office politics, ambition, and being forced to read bad scripts. It runs April 28 – May 21, 2023. Karen Fleming directs.
“Beckett is something we’ve always wanted to produce,” jokes Morogiello, “It’s one of my plays that has had a fair degree of success in the U.S. and UK. In fact, it was done by a local amateur theater a few years ago. We figured that enough time has passed. I mean, if theaters can produce A Midsummer Night’s Dream every single year, they can put up with Beckett every seven.”
Tickets for Best Medicine Rep Theater Company’s upcoming season are on sale now ($30 general admission, $25 seniors) through bestmedicinerep.org. Best Medicine Rep performs at Lakeforest Mall, 701 Russell Avenue, Suite F115, Gaithersburg, MD (lower level).
Now in its sixth season, Best Medicine Rep is a nonprofit theater company that specializes in new comedies. It is dedicated to the artistic, educational, and cultural development of the greater Gaithersburg area. For more information about the company, please visit bestmedicinerep.org.
COVID Safety: All patrons must be masked and show proof of fully vaccinated status. Best Medicine Rep’s complete COVID policy is here (scroll down).