Play Review: “Where There’$ a Will” Brings the Laughs at Theatre Three in Port Jeff

Need more laughter in your life? Head over to Theatre Three in beautiful Port Jefferson and catch the comical show Where There’$ a Will, playing now through May 6. Written by Jeffrey Sanzel, this no-frills, plenty-of-fuss production will have you in stitches over the antics of the players on stage.

In the first scene, we’re at the reading of Hiram Cedricson’s will. All the players mentioned in the will—including his horrible fourth wife—are present for the reading. The eccentric old man, known as the “Potato King,” decided that before his death he wanted to write a play. He didn’t think to hire a proofreader or anything as practical as that, but he did think of who he wanted to be in the play—from the director to the stage hands—and they all must appear in the play if they want to receive half a million dollars. The catch? They cannot change anything. Nothing. If they do alter it in anyway, the will becomes void and no one will get their share.

Phyllis March, Mary Ellin Kurtz

Phyllis March, Mary Ellin Kurtz, Photo: Peter Lanscome

As you can imagine, there are plenty of errors, and not just spelling errors, in the script. This play within a play begins a little slowly, but by the second half you are fully submerged in the hilarity of the scenes unfolding before you. The costumes are outrageous and gaudy, the lines make almost no sense, the leading lady is double-cast, there are pages missing from the script and there are scenes which were included three times—all of which must be played out exactly as Hiram wrote it.

Standouts included Jessica Contino, who plays up-and-coming director Allison Langland and whom Hiram deemed worthy enough to direct his one and only play. She’s funny and dynamic on stage, and has a firm hold on this decidedly “loser” filled cast. Marci Bing plays the loud and crass piano player Marge Abercorn, who has spot-on comedic timing. Lavinia St. John, played by Phyllis March, is haughty and holier-than-thou, and the banter between her and Hazel Fine, played by Maryellin Kurtz, is the cause of many belly laughs from the audience. The yogi of the group, Monica Parrish, played by Maryellen Molfetta, is charming and funny. Ginger Dalton plays the hilarious character Emma Willard-Powell, and she will keep you laughing throughout the show.

Ginger Dalton

Ginger Dalton, Photo: Peter Lanscome, Theatre Three Productions, Inc.

Shout out to costume designer Chakira Doherty, who came up with some of the most outrageous getups for our poor characters—I am still chuckling at the costume Marge Abercorn, our pianist, was forced to wear!

Take a ride out to Port Jefferson, have dinner at any one of the amazing local restaurants and then head over to Theatre Three for a night of laughter and nonsense with the lovable and wonky cast of Where There’$ a Will.

For tickets and other information visit theatrethree.com or call 631-928-9100. 412 Main Street, Port Jefferson.

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