Not even a week after golf's Web.com Tour wrapped up at Sycamore Hills in Fort Wayne, First Presbyterian Theater is presenting a comedy about our love affair with golf.
“The Fox on the Fairway” is about two private country clubs, Quail Valley and Crouching Squirrel, and their annual golf tournament. One club has arranged to steal away the other club's star player, so the president of that club gets his assistant to fill in.
“He's a phenomenal golfer, but he's a little on the dim side,” said Christopher J. Murphy, who's guest directing the show.
The madcap adventure features mistaken identities and romantic shenanigans. Add in a ditzy girlfriend, overbearing wife and mildly alcoholic vice president of the golf club, and chaos ensues.
“The beauty of this play, I think, is that it has a little extra dose of fun for people who are golfers,” Murphy said, adding, “it definitely has broad appeal.”
The play is written by Ken Ludwig, who wrote “Crazy for You” and “Lend Me a Tenor,” which was the first play Murphy saw on Broadway when he was 14 years old. He fell in love with the farce.
So when First Presbyterian Managing Artistic Director Thom Hofrichter asked Murphy to direct a play in this time slot, “this was the play that came to mind, primarily because we're still in golf season,” Murphy said.
The cast of six includes four seasoned pros and “two phenomenally talented young high school students,” Murphy said. “It's really a nice mix of old faces and new faces.”
Murphy has been impressed by how much the young actors have learned from watching the veterans.
The president of the Quail Valley Country Club is played by Todd Frymier, who just finished playing Jean Valjean in the Civic Theatre's production of “Les Miserables.” Murphy described this role as “quite an about-face” for Frymier after just playing Valjean.
The show may be a farce, but in the end it has something to say about how we behave and why sportsmanship matters, Murphy said.
“Really, through its jokes and its comedy, I think it holds a mirror up to all of us when we are in competitive mode and sort of reminds us that winning isn't everything,” Murphy said.