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If you love the romantic Edwardian age of "Downton Abbey," you'll love the equally romantic -- and much more fun -- "Where's Charley?" musical from the Stow Players, set in the Victorian age of manners and dress, sophistication and hijinks.
The setting is Oxford University in 1892, where a group of the college seniors are bidding farewell to the days gone by. In his dorm room, graduating Jack Chesney (Jeff Liliestedt of Akron) is excitedly talking with his butler, Brassett (Dave Sherman of Macedonia), making sure that luncheon will be ready for later that afternoon. His roommate, Charley Wykeham (Tyler Harding of Akron), has gone to the train station to meet his aunt, Donna Lucia D'Alvadorez (Elizabeth Balla of Cuyahoga Falls), who is coming from Brazil for a visit. Having Charley's aunt there as a chaperone will make it quite easy for their two girlfriends, Kitty Verdun (Amanda Bouffard of Fairlawn) and Amy Spettigue (Erica Cantrell of Akron), to come for lunch.
When Charley's aunt does not show, the two young men devise a plan making them think -- and change -- fast. Charley becomes the driving force of the plan, but his ruse works only too well. Mr. Spettigue (Jerry Schaber of Stow), Amy's uncle and Kitty's guardian, takes a fancy to the new "Donna Lucia," and will only agree to the girls' marriages to their beaux if she agrees to marry him. Similarly, Jack's father, Sir Francis Chesney (Dan Williams of Akron), thinks he can shore up his dwindling fortunes by wedding this "Donna Lucia" as well.
The Frank Loesser and George Abbott musical adaptation of Brandon Thomas's play "Charley's Aunt" opens on Friday and runs all four weekends in February. Friday and Saturday performances are at 8 p.m., and there is one matinee at 2:30 p.m. Feb. 16. Ticket are $14, or $12 for senior citizens and students. On Valentine's Day (Feb. 14), with each ticket purchased the patron will receive a coupon for a glass of wine (or other beverage) and chocolates.
Dustin Oliver of Stow has taken on both roles of director and music director. He has been the music director for many of Stow Players' past musicals. Lorena Goold, president of the Board of Stow Players, is producer.
All performances are in the Heritage Barn in Stow's Silver Springs Park, with access from Young Road only. Call 330-655-6051, visit www.stowplayers.net or email firstname.lastname@example.org for reservations or more information.