Black's Latest Goes Off Without a "Hitch"

The famed writer and comedian premiered a new show at the George Street Playhouse on Friday.

It is uniquely the humor of comedian Lewis Black to author a play that casts a 16-year-old girl who is enraptured with two things: her Walkman and being a Republican.

This teenage rock 'n roll Reagan supporter is the narrator of Black's new play, "One Slight Hitch," which premiered at the George Street Playhouse on Friday.

"P.B.," played by Lauren Ashley Carter, lives in 1981 Cincinnati with her parents, Doc and Delia Coleman.

The play opens on the wedding day of sister, Courtney, who is set to marry her preppy, trust-fund boyfriend, Harper, played by Scott Drummond. Complications ensue, of course.

Black sets the story against a soundtrack of 80's classics, including Blondie, Kim Carnes' hit song "Bette Davis Eyes" and Rick Springfield's 80's anthem, "Jessie's Girl," but the play is not neon, crimped hair and leg warmers.

Instead, the play's characters are dealing with the return to the right that the the country is taking during the first year of Ronald Reagan's presidency, and the hope of the baby boomer generation, and the American dream, a firmly middle class family in middle America.

Dysfunctional families are nothing new in theater, but the Coleman family stays believably off-kilter, each with their own quirks - heavy drinking, self-doubt, puberty - but defined by the fact that despite all those flaws, their love for each other is never called into question.

Black's dry, sardonic humor is peppered throughout the production, making him a constant presence throughout, easily recognized by fans familiar with his work (even the pre-show announcement asking the audience to silence their phones is voiced by him.)

Veteran television and stage actor Mark Linn-Baker plays the role of the family patriarch, providing the lion's share of the laughs as he attempts to corral his daughters and highly strung wife, played by actress Lizbeth Mackay.

Rosie Benton and Clea Alsip round out the cast, with Benton playing the role of young, doubtful bride Courtney, whose wedding day is thrown into turmoil with the unannounced arrival of ex-boyfriend Ryan, played by Christopher Tocco.

Black is known for his parody of politics, and while they are worked into this show it's done in a subtle, underlying way that tells the story of a family and the story of a changing era simultaneously. Plus, it's got plenty of laughs.

"One Slight Hitch" will be performed at the George Street Playhouse through Oct. 28.

For more information, or to purchase tickets, visit www.georgestreetplayhouse.org.

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