Back in 2004 A.D. Players were barely 2 years in from their purchase of new land on Westheimer, in the heart of the Galleria. As fundraising began they were continuing to produce plays at their 220 seat theater off W. Alabama, merely dreaming about a future with a brand new building. Neil Simon's play God's Favorite was the season opener that year. Audience's loved Simon's wit and humor and the elements of faith woven into the retelling of the Biblical story of Job.
Now, 13 years later, and living in the reality of that new building, A.D. Players at The George are closing out their 51st season with that same comedy. The new, larger stage space and fly system will allow them to fully realize more of the grandeur of the set, and the dramatic turnaround from Act 1 to Act 2. Beyond the increase of production value, why this play and at this time? Interim Artistic Director Kevin Dean says, “It’s our hope that this story, replete with tests of an unshakable faith, will resonate deeply with audiences and leave them with the encouragement to tackle life’s inevitable trials.”
Houston has seen its fair share of trials this last year, and many in our city are still recovering. A.D. Players lost their founder and artistic director in December, and if you look around our world you see no shortage of hurt and devastation. How do we combat that? One thing we can do, is bring laughter to help encourage and heal the soul, even for just a moment. The playwright, Neil Simon was quoted once as saying "My view is, "how sad and funny life is." I can't think of a humorous situation that does not involve some pain. I used to ask, "What is a funny situation?" Now I ask, "What is a sad situation and how can I tell it humorously?" A.D. Players believe while humor helps, an extra dose of faith can take you even further in the healing process.
God's Favorite is set in Long Island in 1970, and comedy ensues when Joe Benjamin, a successful, God-fearing, business tycoon is visited one night by a messenger from God. This messenger by the name of Sidney Lipton, through all types of trials and temptations attempts to get Joe to renounce God. His faith stands firm, and hope and faith are restored.
Directed by Branden Hunt and led by a talented group of Houston designers, Liz Freese (scenic), Orlando Arriaga (sound), Thomas Murphy (lights), and Danielle Hodgins (costumes), audiences will be thrilled to see company member Chip Simmons reviving his role as Sidney Lipton, and joined by A.D. Players Craig Griffin and Michael Morrison. First timers to the A.D. Players stage are Deborah Hope, LaBraska Washington, and Niesha Bentley. Returning artists are Lindsay Ehrhardt, who was nominated for Best Supporting Actress by Houston Press for her role in A.D. Players You Can’t Take It With You, and Matt Harris Anderson who played Snoopy in Charlie Brown Christmas.
Call the Box Office at 713-526-2721 or go online at www.adplayers.org to purchase tickets for the show starting July 13 and running until August 5 with preview performances on July 11 & 12.