Fall in Love With “Living on Love” at Kechi Playhouse
The egos of a maestro conductor and his opera diva wife drive their ghostwriters frantic in this wacky romantic comedy.
Iris Peabody and Robert Samson have a big problem. Two big problems, in fact.
They've been hired to ghostwrite the autobiographies of famed maestro Vito De Angelis and his opera diva wife, Raquel. But between the couple's massive egos, demanding whims, and their tendency to give "facts" about their lives that aren't actually facts, the poor writers can't get past page two.
Not only that, the dueling Diva and Maestro have set their romantic sights on the two young, attractive scribes...
...while the two stalwart servants, Bruce and Eric, try valiantly to manage the chaos.
Sparks fly, silverware (and snowglobes!) are thrown, and romance blossoms in the most unexpected ways in "Living on Love," playing Sept. 6 – 29 at the Kechi Playhouse. Written by Joe DiPietro, this delightful and hilarious romantic comedy debuted on Broadway only four years ago. The original production starred real-life opera diva Renee Fleming.
"This is the first time this show has been done in Wichita, so it's an opportunity for audiences to see something new," said director and producer Misty Maynard. "When I started reading the script I thought, 'This is so funny we have to do it!' Now all of us are laughing every night in rehearsal. I just love this cast."
While there are opera references in the show, as well as some singing, audience members don't need to know a thing about opera to enjoy the comedy, she added.
The show has provided plenty of fun for the actors.
"The Maestro and Diva live in this wildly theatrical alternate reality, and they pull everyone around them into the whirlwind," said Charlene Grinsell, who plays Diva Raquel. "But their bond and genuine affection for each other is very real, which gives the comedy a core of sweetness."
Joining in the fun is canine cast member Miss Priss, who plays Diva's pampered pup, Puccini. This is her second appearance on the Kechi Playhouse stage, and she's taken to it like a pro—helped along, Maynard said, by a few treats doled out by doting cast members! Maynard adopted the canine thespian from a local shelter.
"Living on Love" is the fourth show in Kechi Playhouse's 37th season. The Playhouse produces five shows each season from May to October. The season concludes with "Fireflies," playing Oct. 4 – 27.
Return visitors to the Kechi Playhouse may notice some differences this time around. The beloved 100-year old building is undergoing work on its external fixtures after receiving a $250,000 community development block grant from the Kansas Department of Commerce, and raising more than $83,000 from the community. Though audience members may see some construction equipment near the building, the season will proceed without interruption.
"We just love our audience and we'd be glad to have them come out and see this," said Maynard. "We've worked hard and it's going to be a great show."
Vito De Angelis … Delno Ebie
Raquel De Angelis … Charlene Grinsell
Robert Samson … Anthony Valdez
Iris Peabody … Haley Hungate
Bruce … John Dalton-White
Eric … Jeremy Buoy
Puccini … Miss Priss
"Living on Love" runs Sept. 6 – 29 at the Kechi Playhouse, located at 100 E. Kechi Rd (intersection of N Oliver & 61st Street) in Kechi, Kan. Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. Doors open 30 minutes prior to curtain.
Tickets are $15 for Friday and Saturday shows; $13 for Sundays. Cash or check only, payable at the door. Seating is general admission.
Reservations are recommended but not required. Call (316) 744-2152 for reservations or more information. You can also follow Kechi Playhouse on Facebook.