Montgomery Playhouse, in partnership with the Gaithersburg Arts Barn, will open its 2013-14 season on November 8th with the bible as you’ve never imagined it. God’s Favorite is Neil Simon’s take on what a modern story of Job might be, complete with a wise-cracking household staff, a drunken bum of a son, the nervous but ever helpful twins, and a resourceful wife.
Joe, the family patriarch, is visited one night by a most curious and somewhat sinister figure, who challenges Joe to renounce his faith in God. As Joe remains steadfast in his belief, his world falls apart. Not the usual approach for a comedy, but the story is full of surprises, one-liners, and physical comedy that we all look forward to in a Neil Simon play.
Director Ed Starr says, “Neil Simon does something that very few playwrights do. He puts people in very unpleasant, very difficult circumstances and makes these people funny. They don’t know they are funny, but they are. The original author of the book of Job was not funny. It is grim, it is difficult, it is unpleasant. (Simon) has written this play and made it funny. And he is able to do that like no other playwright I know of.” Starr says that what draws him to any play he gets engaged with is the writing and the story. “The book of Job has been around for a long time. It’s part of our culture. We talk about the ‘patience of Job.’ That’s what brings me to this project”
Ted Culler plays Joe Benjamin.(Job) He describes Joe as a “very fine, upstanding religious man who trusts God and holds his family accountable for living an upstanding life.” Ted says he came to acting late, around 1995. He has an undergraduate degree in speech and drama but chose a career as a speech and language pathologist and never did anything with the drama. When he was around 40 his church put on a Thanksgiving show and asked him to to a monologue. It got laughs and he was hooked. He started auditioning and his first community role was Doc Gibbs in Our Town.
Interestingly enough, David Jones also started acting with his church and then went on to community theater. In fact, in 1992 Montgomery Playhouse was the first community group to cast him and he’s worked with them ever since. He is an award -winning actor and set designer, is a past President of the group, and is currently it’s executive Producer. Dave plays Sidney Lipton, a movie-loving resident of Queens who also happens to be a messenger from God.
The talented cast also includes Kim Busch, Thaddaeus Fillmore, Ed Klein, Marc Pardee, Anne VanDercook, and Joyce Wright.
God’s Favorite opens November 8, 2013 and plays through November 24, 2013 at The Arts Barn – 311 Kent Square Road, in Gaithersburg, MD. For tickets, call the box office at (301) 258-6394, or purchase them online.