NEPA Scene Staff

New boxing comedy ‘Man on a Canvas’ opens at Olde Brick Theater in Scranton Nov. 10-19

New boxing comedy ‘Man on a Canvas’ opens at Olde Brick Theater in Scranton Nov. 10-19
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From a press release:

Diva Productions continues its 2017/2018 season at the Olde Brick Theater in Scranton with Jeff Boam’s original comedy “Man on a Canvas,” which runs Friday, Nov. 10 through Sunday, Nov. 19.

In this comedy set first at Manhattan’s legendary Algonquin Hotel in 1928 and then in modern-day Scranton, New York sportswriter Hank Dukenfield learns that he can’t get his biography of a famous barefisted fighter published without settling a boxing wager involving beer deliveryman Buddy Falstaff, a disgraced former boxer who won’t raise his fists. Inspired by the stage classics of George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart (“The Man Who Came to Dinner,” “You Can’t Take It with You”), “Man on a Canvas” pits the screwball comedy in a modern ring.

Director Paige Balitski has assembled an amazing cast, with 10 actors performing 20 roles – among them, Dorothy Parker, Alexander Woollcott, Harpo Marx, and George S. Kaufman himself. The production stars Sam Falbo as terminally sarcastic sportswriter Hank Dukenfield; Eric Lutz as disgraced former barefisted champ Jack Falstaff, and his great-grandson, reluctant boxer Buddy Falstaff; Liz Naro as caustic wit Dorothy Parker, and Buddy’s overprotective sister, sports artist Constance Bijan; Michael Madajeski as acid-tongued critic Alexander Woollcott, and working class grifter Joe “Bag-O-Donuts” Bagdzonski; David Spitzer as ornery playwright George S. Kaufman, and worrywart publisher Bob Harlan; Donya Jackson as dubious Broadway prospect Hattie LeGrand, and tough-as-nails sports manager Lucius Messeria; Seth Golden as firebrand humorist Robert Benchley, and simpleton boxer Larry “Slavy” Slavik; Dante Giammarco as soused writer Ring Larder, and soused priest Father Michael “Mick” Schaffer; Peter Miles as the opportunistic Bellhop, and the Young Man; and James Scott Flannery as Harpo Marx, and the Old Man. Sandra Connolly is the stage manager, while Dominick Azzarelli is the set designer and Laura Heffron is the costumer.

Showtimes at The Olde Brick Theatre (126 W. Market St., Scranton) are on Nov. 10, 11, 17, and 18 at 8 p.m. and Nov. 12 and 19 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $12 for general admission and $10 for seniors. Call 570-209-7766 for reservations. Free parking is available in the lot behind the theater and on the street.

This is the fourth collaboration for Balitski’s Diva Productions and Boam’s Richlier Moving Picture Company. Their short film, “Charlie Chaplin’s Body,” won “Best Filmmaker” in a press poll and screened at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival’s Short Film Corner. The film was based on Boam’s first play, the one-act “Charlie Chaplin’s Body,” which won the University of Scranton’s 1998 Playwright’s Festival and was revived by Diva in 2003.

In 2015, Boam’s second play, the full-length drama “Behind the Six,” was produced by Diva and went on to win “Best Production” in a local press poll as well as rack up four Northeastern Pennsylvania Theater Alliance Awards, including “Best Original Production” and “Best Overall Production.” It was the first time in the Alliance’s history that an original piece won the top prize. Boam’s third play, the full-length drama “The Judas Sheep,” was produced by Diva in November of 2016, with several sold-out shows. The production would later win multiple Northeastern Pennsylvania Theater Alliance Awards, including “Best Original Production” and “Best Supporting Actress.”