Closer to Bogey in Whitefish Bay
High school auditoriums can feel positively immense next to many of the other stages in town. The venerable Bay Players community theater group operates out of a space in Whitefish Bay High School that can seat quite a few. “When we did large musicals the auditorium was great. We had 800 to 1,000 a night for shows like Into the Woods and 42nd Street.” Says Artistic Director Raymond Bradford, “But it is harder with smaller shows.”
Bigger theater spaces have a tendency of washing-out the intensity and subtlety that can make theater so appealing. One technique for dealing with this in a huge space is simply brining the audience onstage with the performance. This is exactly what Bradford is doing with his production of Woody Allen’s classic stage tribute to Humphrey Bogart Play It Again Sam. Bradford had been wanting to put the audience onstage at Whitefish Bay High for years. Now he’s able to do it with a classic romantic comedy. Allen’s play is best remembered as one of his earliest films. The 1972 comedy has Woody Allen playing a man who sought the advice of the ghost of his Hollywood idol in dealing with romantic difficulties. That film is based on a 1969 stage play that also originally starred Allen.
Scott Sorenson play the lead (a traditionally autobiographical Wood Allen-esque guy) who falls for a married woman played by Nancy Hofman. Uncertain of what to do, he consults Bogey as played by William Molitor.
The Bay Players’ production of Play It Again Sam runs Sep. 23 - Oct. 1 at Whitefish Bay High School Auditorium on 1200 E Fairmount Ave. For more information, visit the Bay Players online.