January 31, 2013

By design, old friends will collaborate on 'Death' at Good Theater

The play opens this week at the St. Lawrence Arts Center.

By Bob Keyes bkeyes@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

Good Theater's current show, the comedy "Death by Design," offers a great example of the value of a lasting friendship.

"DEATH BY DESIGN" BY GOOD THEATER

WHERE: St. Lawrence Arts Center, 76 Congress St., Portland

WHEN: 7 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday through Feb. 24, with an additional performance at 3 p.m. Feb. 16. No performance on Feb. 13.

HOW MUCH: $15 to $25

INFO: 885-5883; goodtheater.com

Thirty years ago, Brian Allen and Rob Urbinati worked together in the box office at Maine State Music Theatre in Brunswick. They became friends, and stayed in touch.

These days, Urbinati is a New York-based playwright and theater director. Allen lives in Scarborough, and is co-founder and artistic director of the Portland-based Good Theater.

When it came time for Allen to plan the 2012-13 season, he tapped his old pal, the author of "Death by Design."

The play opens this week, and is on stage at the St. Lawrence Arts Center in Portland through Feb. 24. The comedy had its premiere in Houston last year; Good Theater offers a revised version with a new ending.

Urbinati arranged a staged reading of his play earlier this winter in New York in anticipation of a full-scale production off-Broadway next season. He will be in residence at Good Theater this week, and will lead an audience talk-back following Thursday's show.

"When he finished this play, he thought it would be something I would be interested in. I read it and really liked it," said Allen. "He wanted there to be another production prior to New York so he could see it again on its feet, and he called me."

Allen described the writing style as a cross between Noel Coward and Agatha Christie.

"It is very witty and really, really funny with a lot of good lines. And then you have this murder that gets committed, and it becomes up to the Irish maid to solve the crime," he said.

"Death by Design" is set in an English country home. Everyone arrives for the weekend, a murder takes place, and everybody becomes a suspect. There are eight cast members, including the deceased.

The play stars Rob Cameron, Abigail Killeen, Matthew Delamater, Janice Gardner, Paul Haley, Kat Moraros, Susan Reilly and Benjamin Row. Allen directs.

Staff Writer Bob Keyes can be contacted at 791-6457 or:

bkeyes@pressherald.com

Twitter: pphbkeyes

 

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