Godspell MusicalVisit to a Small Planet
A Comedy Akin to Vaudeville
Directed by Tobias Andersen
July 7 - August 13, 2017

Show sponsor: Lakewood Center Associates

Purchase Tickets | $34/adults, $32/Senior. Discounts for students and groups.

Lakewood Theatre Company opens its 65th season with Gore Vidal’s quirky and humorous sci-fi satire, Visit to a Small Planet. Director Tobias Andersen brings to the stage a story of a flying-saucer spaceman with psychic powers who discovers love, pain, and beatniks on earth. The production sponsor is the Lakewood Center Associates.

Imagine if a visitor from another galaxy happened to land on earth to observe the United States firsthand. What kind of impression would the country, or for that matter, the human race, make on a complete stranger? This is the question posed in Gore Vidal’s Visit to a Small Planet, a comedy subtitled as A Comedy Akin to a Vaudeville.

Originally presented as a television play in 1957 (it had its New York stage premiere in the same year), the satirical play follows the exploits of Kreton, an alien who lands on Earth, hoping to catch a glimpse of the American Civil War only to find that “something went wrong with the machine!” He has landed in the mid-twentieth century, outside of the Spelding family’s home. Upon learning that it is not 1861, Kreton nevertheless decides to stay and observe human behavior: “You are my hobby,” he tells the Speldings, “and I am going native.”

About the Play: Bored with his distant planet and endowed with a technology far more advanced than ours, where immortality, perfection and peace coexist, Kreton (Jeremy Southard) has adopted Earth as a hobby to escape his intergalactic ennui. And that’s dangerous. The visitor loves violence and has decided to time-and-space travel to earth to experience a place where the inhabitants do war “really well.” Although this extraterrestrial, dressed as a Confederate gentleman expects the Battle of Bull Run, the first big battle of the American Civil War in 1861, he lands his highly advanced driverless, time-traveling vehicle instead to a time 100 years late in Manassas, Virginia in 1957. (His spaceship miscalculated.)

Kreton’s ship treads on the rosebushes that encircle the meticulously kept household of Roger (Todd Hermanson), Reba (Julie Elizabeth Knell) and Ellen Spelding (Melissa Sondergeld). Kreton unceremoniously falls into their lives and soon discovers he is in an era that, though rife with general human conflict, is hopelessly devoid of explosive battles. But after discovering all the new playthings the 20th century has invented for war-making, the fun returns for him as he decides to take over the planet and create a brand new war for himself.  Along the way are a lot of laughs, a little bit of love and a humanizing look at the citizens of small planet Earth, where we observe how different people define “love of one’s country.”

The Lakewood Theatre Company production of Visit to A Small Planet also features Erik James as the blustering General Tom Powers; Paul Harestad as the boy-next-door, Conrad Mayberry; Kaleb Hood as the hapless army Aide; Ethan LaFrance as Delton 4; and Dusty as Rosemary the cat.

Stage direction for LTC’s production of Visit to a Small Planet is by Tobias Andersen. Scenic design is by Christopher Whitten, lighting design is by Kurt Herman, sound design is by Marcus Storey, properties are by Addie Underwood, fight choreography is by Heather King, and costume design is by Patricia J. Rohrbach. The stage manager is Addie Underwood and the producer is Steve Knox.

Ticket Information

Performance schedule: Godspell opens Friday, April 28, 2017 and continues with the following schedule: Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights at 7:30 PM, two Wednesday performances at 7:30 PM (May 17 and May 31), Sunday matinees at 2:00 PM (May 7, 21, 28, and June 4, 11) and Sunday evenings at 7:00 PM (April 30 and May 14, 28).

Ticket prices: $34/adults and $32/seniors. Other discounts are available for students and groups. For tickets, call the Lakewood Box Office at (503) 635-3901 or Purchase Tickets.