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'Present Company' opens at Lakewood Nov. 6

SUBMITTED PHOTO: TRIUMPH PHOTOGRAPHY - Gary Powell stars as aging matinee idol Garry Essendine in one of Noel Cowards funniest and most delightful comedies, Present Laughter, opening at Lakewood Center for the Arts, 368 S. State St.

For The Review, Tidings

“Present Company,” the classic comedy by Noel Coward, opens Nov. 6 at Lakewood Theatre Company.

Brimming with the renowned Coward wit and style, performances continue through Dec. 13, playing Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights at 7:30 p.m., two Wednesday performances at 7:30 p.m., Sunday evenings at 7 p.m. and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. There is no performance on Thanksgiving.

At the Wednesday, Nov. 18 performance, Lakewood continues its Wine on Wednesday (WOW): 25-35. For people 35 and younger, tickets are priced at $25 each. One hour prior to performance there will be a complimentary wine tasting hosted by World Class Wines. Come enjoy Wine on Wednesday paired with discounted show tickets.

Longtime Lakewood director Don Adler directs this comedy with a look back in time when being a famous actor could still be negotiated with suave sophistication and style, and where even those stalking the stars were well-bred, well-spoken and well-dressed.

Garry Essendine (Gary Powell) is a successful matinee idol who sits in comfortable style at the center of his own universe. He is the head of an affectionate and intimate accidental family, which includes his estranged, but still caring wife, Liz Essendine (Olivia Shimkus); his long-suffering assistant Monica Reed (Marilyn Stacey); producer and friend Hugo Lyppiatt (Jacob Lee Smith); and manager and friend Morris Dixon (Grant Byington).

The production also features Melissa Whitney as glamorous interloper Joanna Lyppiatt, Brenan Dwyer as the besotted young Daphne Stillington, Jake Simonds as the aspiring playwright Roland Maule, Jane Ferguson as Lady Saltburn and John Morrison as Fred.

The story begins with Garry Essendine busily making preparations for a long overseas tour. A beautiful stage-struck ingénue and an ardent, aspiring playwright, who both insist on his attentions, complicate his plans. When his wife, his agents, and his numerous admirers arrive, Garry is hard-pressed to escape. Typical of Coward’s sparkling dialogue and dazzling wit, Garry finesses the situation with style.

Tickets are $32 for adults, $30 for seniors. They can be purchased online at lakewood-center.org or by calling the box office at 503-635-3901.