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Broadway’s Smash Hit Comedy Comes to FST’s Mainstage

November 23, 2022

Called “The funniest play Broadway has ever seen” by The Huffington Post, The Play That Goes Wrong has been performed for over two million people in more than 30 countries. Now, FST is proud to present this international comedy sensation on its Mainstage this season.

“In this day and age, great new comedies rarely come along,” said Bruce Jordan, the show’s director who was also at the helm of FST’s productions of Shear Madness and Spamalot. The Play That Goes Wrong is exactly that—a great new comedy. It will be great fun as a company to explore the show together.”

The Play That Goes Wrong follows the opening night of an amateur theatre troupe’s production of The Murder at Haversham Manor, a 1920s murder mystery play. As the West Palmetto Drama Society’s performance gets underway, things start to go horribly, horribly wrong. Over the course of two acts, the cast and crew must contend with stuck doors, forgotten lines, missing props…and a series of other snafus that we won’t spoil for you. Even as everything around the cast goes haywire, this group of thespians is determined to do everything in their power to make it to the final curtain.

“I saw The Play That Goes Wrong in London’s West End,” said Richard Hopkins, FST’s Producing Artistic Director, “And I thought, ‘I haven’t seen anything like this in decades!’ We were delighted to get the rights to this play. It’s a hysterically funny, heartwarming play, and an utter joy to watch.”

Called “A masterpiece of malfunction” by The Times and “Comic gold!” by Variety, this smash-hit comedy won a WhatsOnStage Award in 2014, a BroadwayWorld UK Award in 2015, as well as a Tony Award and Drama Desk Award in 2017. Praised by critics and celebrities alike—John Lithgow called it “The funniest thing I’ve seen in years!”—The Play That Goes Wrong features the absurdity of Monty Python and the utter mayhem of Noises Off.

“We have a marvelous cast of strong stage comedians,” said Jordan. “We’ll have to rehearse, rehearse, and rehearse until we are confident in every single minute. Comedy only happens when a cast is confident that the funny moments will work.”

With paintings falling off walls and actors getting knocked unconscious, it takes a village to ensure that all of these carefully choreographed accidents go off without a hitch. And that village includes more than just the cast and director.

Design team Isabel and Moriah Curley-Clay have devised a set that will appear to be failing left and right but will actually be functioning exactly as planned.

“We know we’re doing our jobs right when no one sees the tricks coming,” said Isabel and Moriah Curley-Clay. In a way, the production’s set becomes an additional character.

“So, along with listening to and reacting to the audience, we have to react to the set as it works—or doesn’t—around us,” said John Long, one of the eight cast members who will bring this spirited comedy to life.

Amid all the pandemonium that happens in The Play That Goes Wrong, what lies at the heart of the play is the little theatre group that’s trying so incredibly hard to reach the final moments of The Murder at Haversham Manor.

“You can’t help but want everything to work out well for them,” said Jordan. “We watch how the actors get past each of the mishaps along the way, and just when you think that nothing further could go wrong…it does…to increasingly humorous results.”

So join us this season for the critically acclaimed comedy that, according to the Chicago Tribune, makes “you start to think that maybe the day you are having, or the year, really is not so bad after all!”