ALTON — Alton Little Theater will present the final production of the 82nd season, “Skin Deep” by Jon Lonoff, May 12-22 at the Showplace.
This comedy features four veteran actors, Gail Drillinger, Donna Bryant Minard, Steven Harders and Kevin Frakes, in a piece that looks at the pressure women feel about weight in a culture that values “super-sizing” everything (except dress size) — particularly when it comes to the dating scene.
Director Lee Cox said she was drawn to the play because she sees so many beautiful women who still have such insecurity about their appearance and “normal” aging.
The story revolves around a lonely-heart, Maureen Mulligan ( Drillinger), who gives romance one last shot on a blind date with the amiable but awkward Joe Spinelli (Frakes). Minard and Harders portray the more affluent relations and all the characters use wit and wisecracks to cover their fears. Much is made about America’s obsession with beauty, plastic surgery, and food — and the irony that the “average” American woman is a size 14 (considered by dress manufacturers to be “plus-size”).
Cox said when she read the play more than a year ago, she found the characters so endearing and quirky and she welcomed the opportunity to showcase the range of actors she has worked with for many years.
“ALT is definitely not a repertory company but sometimes it is nice to showcase the honed talent of hard-working individuals who have paid their dues and really grown into their talent,” she said. “I’ve directed everyone in the cast — several times — and I’ve asked all of them to ‘stretch’ and play against ‘type’ — which has been so much fun in rehearsals because we know each other so well ... not to forget that we’ve all been sampling the ‘binge food’ that Maureen consumes during the course of the play. I’m really asking so much of Gail to take on this role.”
“Skin Deep” will run for eight performances, with evening performances at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. Two local service organizations already have scheduled preview and curtain parties May 11 and May 18, and they will be selling tickets for their charitable causes. Tickets for adults are $17 and available through the box office at (618) 462-3205 or at altonlittletheater.org. Season tickets for the 83rd season will be on sale during the run of “Skin Deep” for 33 percent off the door admission price and advance tickets for the six-performance run of “Fame” (July 22- 31) will be on sale in the Dorothy Colonius foyer as well.