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Curtain Call
High jinks at the Hot Bed Hotel
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The cast of Tracy Borgatti (Terri Cody/Mrs. Winthrop-Smythe) and Kevin Bangos (Brian Cody), seated, from left, are surrounded by Chris Tracy (Dorothy Lewis), Gail Scott (Ashley), Jonelle Meyer (Maureen), Tim Rankin (Sam Lewis), Jennifer Sloan (Hayley Harrington), Bill Henricks (Hopkins/Rev. Hopkins), and Christian Maier (The Major/Arab Sheik) creates high jinks in the Early Bird Dinner Theatre’s “Hot Bed Hotel.”
Predictable mischief was served up along with the Swedish meatballs and seafood Newburg at the Early Bird Dinner Theatre on Sept. 22 as a cast of nine juggled and jiggled multiple personalities and “just missed him” entrances and exits in Michael Parker’s “Hot Bed Hotel.” Predictable – but the audience of 75 or so ate it up, sitting forward on their seats and laughing loudly at the on-stage goings on.

Parker’s bawdy bedroom farce tells of Terri and Brian Cody (Tracy Borgatti and Kevin Bangos), owners of the one-star and usually one-guest Turtle Beach Hotel in Key West trying to impress prospective buyer Sam Lewis (Tim Rankin) by making the hotel appear busier than it really is.

They enlist the help of seldom-sober maintenance man Hopkins (Bill Henricks) and less-than-bright maid Maureen (Jonelle Meyer).

Hopkins becomes another guest, the Rev. Hopkins, and Maureen adds receptionist and room service waitress to her job description. Their one actual guest, retired British Army Major (Christian Maier), is assigned to keeping nymphomaniac Hayley Harrington (Jennifer Sloane), making her annual visit, occupied while Lewis and his companion Ashley (Gail Scott), whom they assume to be Mrs. Lewis, are visiting.

Add to the mix a mysterious Arab sheik with a remarkable resemblance to the Major, Mrs. Cody

impersonating Mrs. Winthrop-Smythe, another “guest,” and the real Mrs. Lewis (Chris Tracey) who turns up looking for her husband, and it was easy to guess where this one was headed.

Which may have been the point.

“We seem to get a huge response with this type show,” said Robin New, Early Bird’s artistic director.

New said the menu is always the same and the plays are fast-paced and fun; audiences know what to expect and look for familiar faces among the cast members to fulfill those expectations.

Part of what they expect is New opening the show with a “Hi, everybody” to which they respond with an enthusiastic “Hi!” New recognizes various groups attending and those celebrating birthdays and anniversaries.

“Hot Bed Hotel” plays through Nov. 6 at the Early Bird Dinner Theatre, 1411 N. Ft. Harrison Ave. in Clearwater. Dinner seatings are Thursday through Sunday at 4 p.m. with 11 a.m. matinees on Thursday and Saturday.

The buffet includes six hot entrees, various side dishes and salads, dessert, and beverage; a cash bar is available. The price is $14.95 plus tax ($16 total); no credit cards or checks. Call 446-5898 for reservations.
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