Steve Martin’s The Underpants - Matthew Earnest returns to direct farcical comedy at Beck Center - April 1 through 23, 2011

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Tue, 03/08/2011 - 09:30.

Steve Martin’s The Underpants - Matthew Earnest returns to direct farcical comedy at Beck Center

Lakewood, OH—Beck Center for the Arts presents The Underpants, Steve Martin’s contemporary adaptation of a turn-of-the-century satire by German Expressionist Carl Sternheim, on the Mackey Main Stage, April 1 through 23, 2011. Show times are 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 3 p.m. Sundays. The performance on Saturday, April 9 is sold out for a private event.

In The Underpants, Martin brings his comic genius and sophisticated literary style to Sternheim’s classic 1910 farce. His hilarious version opened Off-Broadway in 2002 to critical acclaim. The New York Times called the show “laugh-out-loud funny” and the Village Voice said it was “hilarious and bawdy.”

A farcical send-up of middle-class snobbery and conformity, The Underpants tells the story of a puritanical bureaucrat and his attractive, young wife who becomes an instant celebrity when her bloomers accidentally fall down in public. Steve Martin uses saucy jokes, witty wordplay, and slamming doors to lampoon our contemporary culture’s fascination with fame.

The Underpants is based on Sternheim’s controversial play, Die Hose, his first major success as a playwright and the first in his cycle of plays about the moral sensibilities of the German bourgeoisie. The original production of Die Hose was banned by the German government, not just for its suggestive setup, but for its biting satire criticizing middle class society.

“Directing Sternheim’s The Underpants is an exciting opportunity for me to explore a unique and very important chapter in world drama, German Expressionism, when great geniuses like Max Reinhardt, Erwin Piscator, and others were literally forging the modern theater,” says director Matthew Earnest, who directed last season’s acclaimed comedy, Is He Dead? at the Beck Center. Earnest adds, “Whereas Sternheim’s original play was radical and a bit dangerous for the times, in Martin’s hands the piece becomes a freewheeling spoof of the American middle class.”

Tickets for The Underpants are $28 for adults, $25 for seniors (65 and older), $17 for students (with valid ID), and $10 for children (12 and under). An additional $3 service fee per ticket is applied at the time of purchase. Preview night on Thursday, March 31 is $10 with general admission seating. Group discounts are available for parties of 13 or more.

For tickets, call the Beck Center box office at 216.521.2540, ext. 10, or purchase seats online at Beck Center is located at 17801 Detroit Avenue in Lakewood, just ten minutes west of downtown Cleveland. Free onsite parking is available.

Beck Center’s production of The Underpants is presented through special arrangement with Samuel French Inc. and is sponsored by FIT Technologies, Cox Communications, Ohio Arts Council, and Cuyahoga Arts and Culture.

Beck Center for the Arts is a not-for-profit 501(c)3 organization that offers professional theater productions, arts education programming in dance, music, theater, visual arts, early childhood, and creative arts therapies for special needs students, and gallery exhibits featuring regional artists.

Beck Center for the Arts
17801 Detroit Avenue
Lakewood, OH 44107

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