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The cast of Beckwith’s production of “Love, Sex and the IRS” rehearse a scene near the end of the first act. From left: Jack Gannon, who plays Floyd Spinner; Peggy Gannon, who plays Vivian Trachtman; Brian Beckwith, who plays Jon Trachtman; and James Huffman, who plays Leslie Arthur. (Leader photo/TED YOAKUM)
The cast of Beckwith’s production of “Love, Sex and the IRS” rehearse a scene near the end of the first act. From left: Jack Gannon, who plays Floyd Spinner; Peggy Gannon, who plays Vivian Trachtman; Brian Beckwith, who plays Jon Trachtman; and James Huffman, who plays Leslie Arthur. (Leader photo/TED YOAKUM)

Archived Story

Love and taxes: Beckwith Theater opens season with comedy

Published 8:00am Thursday, March 27, 2014

Beckwith Theatre begins its theatrical season Friday, just in time for tax season.

And there’s no more appropriate play to feature during this time of returns and audits than “Love, Sex and the IRS.”

The comedic farce, written by Billy Van Zandt and Jane Milmore, features the story of roommates Jon and Leslie, who, after years of conning the IRS by claiming to be married on their tax return, finally receive a long-overdue visit from the tax man. In order to avoid being sent to prison for their deception, the two must put on an act and convince the auditor they are actually man and wife.

There’s only one issue: contrary to what his roommate listed on their tax return, Leslie is a man.

“There’s multiple cases of mistaken identities, doors are constantly being swung open, there’s constant shenanigans,” said Director Melissa Auvil. “It’s your typical farce. It doesn’t stop until it stops.”

The Midland-native first saw the play as an audience member during the late 1990s, and was impressed even then by the fast-paced dialog and plot. She felt it was a natural fit for the Beckwith audience, especially as April 15 looms in the horizon.

The cast and crew have been preparing for the show for about two months, and it will run for two weeks, Auvil said. Even after weeks of working with the material, both the cast and director busted out in laughter several times during a dress rehearsal Tuesday night.

“We have laughed so hard during ever single rehearsal,” Auvil said. “It’s hard to get through scenes sometimes, we were laughing that much.”

The romp is only the second play that Auvil has directed for performance at Beckwith, and is the first straight-up comedy she helmed, Auvil said.

“This show is one of the funniest, if not THE funniest, productions I’ve ever been involved with,” she said.

Auvil has been involved with stage since she was in grade school, mostly directing other kinds of plays, like musicals.

“There’s no singing or dancing in this play,” Auvil said. “There’s still a lot of movement on stage though. There’s a certain level of choreography involved, though it’s a whole lot different than usual.”

This is also the first time she has ever worked with this particular eight-person cast, Auvil said. The cast has worked together on comedies for Beckwith before, including last year’s productions of “Kitchen Witches” and “The Underpants.”

“They’re a great team,” Auvil said. “They play off each other well. They even get together outside the theater to practice their lines.”

The only element that is still missing from the production is the audience, making Friday’s debut even more exciting for the cast, Auvil said.

“You know where you laugh, what lines you find funny, but you don’t know where the audience will laugh,” Auvil said. “We’re looking forward to having an audience that will responds to what we’re putting out.”

The show will run from March 28-30 and April 4-6, with the curtains rising at 7:30 p.m. on Fridays and at 2 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Tickets for the show cost $10, they can be reserved by calling 269-782-7653 or at info@beckwiththeatre.com.

Director: Melissa Auvil

Stage Manager: Andrea Schueneman

Leslie Arthur: James Huffman

Kate Dennis: Sam Blevins

Mrs. Jansen: Wendy Elsey

Jon Trachtman: Brian Beckwith

Floyd Spinner: Jack Gannon

Vivian Trachtman: Peggy Gannon

Connie: Kirsten Novak

Grunoin: Keera Morton

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