A comedy by Brandon Thomas
Directed by Nancy Cates
The hilarious tale of young love — and preposterous deception!
In this classic British comedy, two Oxford University undergraduates are desperate to arrange a double date with their girlfriends. Jack Chesney is in love with Kitty Verdun and his pal, Charley Wykeham, is in love with Amy Spettigue. Problem is, it’s 1892 — and no proper Victorian-era woman will accept a luncheon invitation from a young man unless a proper chaperone will also be invited.
To solve their chaperone problem, Jack presents a plan to Charley: Why not invite Charley’s aunt? She’s a wealthy widow from Brazil (“where the nuts come from”), and she’s planning to be visiting on the day of the planned luncheon with Kitty and Amy.
Charley agrees to invite his Aunt to the luncheon – but then the fates intervene. Aunt Donna Lucia d’ Alvadorez telegraphs from Brazil that her trip to England has been delayed by several days.
Without the aunt, the young lads realize that their sweethearts simply won’t accept their luncheon invitation. Jack and Charley are commiserating about their setback when in walks their pal, Lord Fancourt Babberly, who just happens to be wearing women’s clothing (for his role in an upcoming theatrical revue).
Because desperate times call for desperate measures, the boys hatch a harebrained scheme to keep their date. When the girls suddenly arrive, they force their buddy “Babbs” – who’s already dressed as a woman, anyway! – to play the role of Charley’s indulgently doting aunt from Brazil!
From here, comic confusion reigns supreme in this laugh-out-loud farce! Things get even more complicated when other characters are thrown headfirst into these cross-dressing shenanigans. Jack’s father arrives, as does Amy’s father, and then the hijinks are raised even higher when the “real” Aunt Donna Lucia shows up, too! Full of mischief, mayhem and merriment, Charley’s Aunt proves that the course of true love never runs smoothly!
• Cool facts about Charley's Aunt: In its original 1892 production in London, Charley’s Aunt broke all box office records and ran for nearly 1,500 performances. Almost overnight, the smashing success of the play spawned several touring companies across England as well as dozens of productions throughout the English-speaking world. In America, Charley’s Aunt was first produced on Broadway in 1893, followed by five revivals (in 1906, 1925, 1940, 1953 and 1970). For the silver screen, Charley’s Aunt was filmed in 1915 and 1925 (both of which were silent) and the first “talkie” version followed in 1930. Jack Benny played the title role in a popular 1941 American film version. Broadway showman George Abbott and Guys and Dolls composer Frank Loesser reworked Charley’s Aunt to create a musical version of the comedy – called Where’s Charlie? – which played on Broadway between 1948 and 1950. This popular musical comedy starred Ray Bolger (the Scarecrow from The Wizard of Oz) as Charley and his “aunt,” and he repeated the role for the 1952 movie version. In 1957, the CBS anthology series Playhouse 90 aired its adaptation of Charley’s Aunt with a cast that included Art Carney and Jeanette MacDonald (in what would be her final performance). Weathervane Playhouse first produced Charley’s Aunt in 1949. The production, directed by Margaret Moore, was staged at the Pythian Temple on South High Street in downtown Akron (which served as Weathervane’s temporary venue from October of 1948 to July of 1949).
Lord Fancourt Babberley
Colonel Sir Francis Chesney, Bart
Donna Lucia D’ Alvadorez
► CLICK HERE to read the bios of our cast and creative team (pdf)
THE CREATIVE TEAM
EILEEN and STEPHEN MOUSHEY
TOM ABDOO and SYLVIA COLLIER
JASEN J. SMITH
ALAN SCOTT FERRALL
Scenic Designer and Technical Director
Assistant Technical Director