|A still from "To the Moon" by 1812 Productions|
On April 22, 1812 Productions – Philadelphia's sole "all-comedy theatre company" – premieres To the Moon, a fantastical tale of a hard working mook who dreams of hitting the big time, whatever that may be, with The Honeymooners' Jackie Gleason as his ideal. The play stars Scott Greer, known to 2015 audiences as the critically-acclaimed lead in Theatre Exile's The Whale (and also for the press surrounding his titular role in that company's upcoming Rizzo), is directed by Matt Pfeiffer and is written by 1812's Artistic Director (and Greer's wife) Jennifer Childs, with additional choreography from Bill Irwin.
How Childs got to the story behind To the Moon is as fascinating as the play itself. 1812's Tyler Melchior states that after their 2011 tribute to Sid Caesar, Our Show of Shows, Rabbi Gregory S. Marx of Congregation Beth Or met Childs and told her that his father "was the head writer for Jackie Gleason. I have a basement full of material written for Jackie that never made it to television, can you use it?” Indeed, the Rabbi's father was Marvin Marx, The Honeymooners' head writer for 16 episodes, 1955-1956, as well as The Jackie Gleason Show for 13 episodes, 1952-1957.
Childs, Greer and Pfeifer never used Marx's jokes or scenes directly, but were instead inspired by their spirit, as well as the larger-than-life personality of Gleason himself. While To the Moon is not an imitation of Gleason's schtick, there is however, one great dream sequence, filmed in black and white, that alludes to several of "The Great One"'s most famous characters, with a decidedly 1812 twist.
To the Moon opens April 22 at the Christ Church Neighborhood House, 4th floor, 20 N. American Street in Philadelphia, PA. For more information call 215.592.9560 or visit 1812productions.org.
Photo by Christopher Colucci, courtesy of 1812 Productions
Posted on Wednesday, April 22, 2015