After pandemic delay, Rock River Players present ‘The Front Page’
From left, Alan Darling, Rose Watson, and Ramsey Demeter in a scene from the West River Players’ production of “The Front Page.”

After pandemic delay, Rock River Players present ‘The Front Page’

WILLIAMSVILLE — The Rock River Players present Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur's classic screwball comedy, The Front Page, Friday through Sunday, Nov. 5 through 7 and Friday through Sunday, Nov. 12 through 14 at the Williamsville Hall, 35 Dover Rd.

“Mounting this ambitious production has been an epic journey of its own,” Director Bahman Mahdavi said in a news release. “We started in the fall of 2019 and are delighted to finally perform the show in front of a public audience after a long pandemic hiatus.”

This broad comedy is a purely American story, Mahdavi says - “as American as baseball, jazz, or the Grand Canyon. Not that sensationalist journalists, crooked politicians, manipulative newspaper editors, and inept gangsters don't exist elsewhere in the world, but Hecht and MacArthur's expert plotting and rapid-fire, streetwise dialogue establish it firmly in time (1928) and place (Chicago). This could not have been written by Noel Coward or Oscar Wilde.”

The Front Page opened on Broadway in 1928, just a year before the Crash. Written by two Chicago newspaper veterans, it derided polite mores of the times with its crusty, dubiously ethical characters; its rough language; its grit; and its sharply sarcastic view of corrupt politics and bumbling law enforcement.

As described in a news release, “The rat-a-tat dialogue and the ever-increasing pace of the story bring a certain euphoria to the audience still experienced today when watching classic 1930s and 1940s films of Howard Hawks, Preston Sturges, Frank Capra, or Leo McCarey.”

Rock River Players' cast includes Sherry Brown, Alan Darling, Ramsey Demeter, Tom Ely, Johanna Gardner, Marisa Imon, Miles Keefe, Pat Kelly, Phil Kramer, Annie Landenberger, Fred Lawrence, John Moran, John Ogorzalek, Dawn Slade, and Rose Watson, with sound effects by T. Breeze Verdant, stage management by Cherie Moran, and costumes by Dody Riggs.

The Front Page marks what the Rock River Players hope to be the start of a new season and, once again, bringing lively arts to the West River Valley.

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