IF YOU GO
What: Heart-warming comedy about two sisters facing off over a pile of bingo cards
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday & Saturday, 2:30 p.m. Sunday through May 19
Where: Rose History Auditorium at the Marco Island Historical Museum, 180 South Heathwood Dr., Marco Island
Information: 239-394-0080 or theateronmarco.com
On the Web: Sign up to receive more theater news from the Stage Door blog via email.
And Bingo was his name-o!
Scott Lilly and Kevin Moriarty don't want to talk about the farmer's dog. They want to discuss their joint directorial efforts on the Island Players comedy "The Queen of Bingo," a sassy, hilarious comedy about two squabbling sisters facing their issues while waiting to cash in a jackpot on O-48.
"This comedy explore family ties, diet crazes, widowhood, hot flashes, winning and losing through the wacky world of bingo," Lilly said. "It's a light-hearted comedy about bingo, sisters and life lessons."
"The Queen of Bingo" catches two women, Sis and Babe, at the St. Joseph's Catholic Church bingo game. Through their eyes, audiences meet the denizens of the bingo hall, accompanied by snarky bon mots like "When was the last time you saw the weave in polyester?"
Anyone who's ever listened to the sound of bingo balls rattling in a cage, picked up a dauber or rubbed a talisman for luck can relate to this play. Playwrights Jeanne Michels and Phyllis Murphy layer the show with dozens of authentic, yet relatable, touches like door cards, paper specials, coveralls, the Big Diamond and other "bingoisms."
Through comedy, the play does address serious issues faced by senior citizens and middle-aged women, like loneliness, weight loss, companionship and family.
"Babe and Sis each have a secret to share with each other," Moriarty said. "And it turns out, the characters are not who you actually think they were by the end of the play."
Longtime Naples City Improv member Judith Gangi plays Babe, while Michelle Langlas takes the role of Sis. Ray Kane joins the fun as St. Joseph's Irish priest, Father Francis McKenzie Muldoon, with Jeff Manning voicing the bingo caller.
The co-directors came into the play with some vivid bingo memories. Lilly, a Detroit native, remembers getting a group together and driving over the border to a Canadian bingo hall in Winsdor, Ontario that gave away a Cadillac each week.
Moriarty's experience might be even closer to that in the play.
"I remember my Grandmother Sophie getting all dolled up," he said. "She had a gold lame pantsuit, fire engine red nail polish and lipstick for the Saturday night bingo game at the VFW Hall."
Lilly thinks the play will appeal to audiences of all stripes - just like the game of bingo itself.
"People love bingo for several reason," he counted off, "to socialize, to gossip, but most of all to win!"
Bingo fans are in luck, because every "The Queen of Bingo" audience member has the chance go home with a prize.
Bingo cards with be included in playbills at each performance; a bingo game specifically for audience members is written right into the script.
"Someone will win a prize at every performance," Lilly said.
Beyond the prizes, the pair want audiences to take "a good time" home with them.
"Like the game of bingo itself, Babe and Sis are pretty universal in their appeal," Moriarty said. "This comedy is a lot of fun, with a serious twist."
"The Queen of Bingo" runs May 4-19 at the Rose History Auditorium, 180 S. Heathwood Drive, Marco Island. Tickets are $18 and are available at Centennial Bank, 615 E. Elkcam Drive, the Marco Island Historical Society Gift Shop, 180 S. Heathwood Drive, or online at www.theateronmarco.com.