A new show opens at the Depot Theater Company next week and you may be able to hear the laughter all over town.
"Funny Money," a farce by Ray Cooney, is filled with the elements audiences love in a farce: mistaken identities, a central character who piles misinformation on top of misinformation, slamming doors, good cops and bad cops, and two identical briefcases, one of which contains a large amount of money.
The company originally produced the show in 1996, when it was their last production in the Old House Saloon on the Boot Hill Museum complex.
Three of the original eight actors are reprising their roles in the new production.
Kent Ross, Kelly Carroll and Darleen Clifton Smith, all company veterans, will get a second chance to enjoy the predicaments of their characters.
For first-time director, Mark Vierthaler, it's been fun.
"Actually, it's been frightening," Vierthaler said in an interview at the Globe Friday.
"People kept asking me 'Why?' when I expressed interest in directing," he said.
"But it's kind of been on my bucket list and we didn't have a director for the show so I stepped up."
Vierthaler has been involved in nearly every aspect of theater, from lighting and sound to construction, but has spent most of his time on stage.
He was originally slated to direct the company's summer show but casting problems forced him to take a part in that show and his wife, Jenn, stepped up to direct.
"So I should have been aware of what's involved in directing," he said.
"But there are so many things you can't account for. You read the script, schedule auditions, select the cast, then rehearsals start and you discover that all your clever staging ideas don't actually work with actors on a stage."
Vierthaler's pre-rehearsal preparations included researching the London neighborhood where the play takes place. He looked up houses for sale in the area and studied their interior decoration. He looked up the socio-economic status of the neighborhood.
"I know it's a farce and I probably went overboard, but I've always thought that the characters in a farce have to be believable — that they can't realize they're doing something funny — and I think that extends to the environment too," he said.
Vierthaler is happy to have a good mix of veterans and newcomers, all of whom have strong backgrounds in theater. "Since the cast is so strong, it lets me focus on the mechanics, which are really important in a farce," he said.
After several rehearsals, Vierthaler decided the set was too far back and there was too much space on stage. He also decided that his placement of the actors needed some adjustment.
Page 2 of 2 - "I sat in different seats around the theater and was surprised at how different the scenes looked," he said.
Vierthaler has had design help from his wife, Jenn, who is designing lights and sound; Earl Unruh, who designed the set; and Dee Miller, who designed the costumes.
"This cast has great chemistry and no negativity — it's been fun," he said.
Vierthaler suggests that those wanting to see the show make their reservations soon.
"We're filling up fast and once people get to talking about it, there won't be many tickets left," he said.
The show opens Friday, Dec. 7 and runs Thursday through Sunday through Dec. 22.
A matinee performance is scheduled for Sunday, Dec. 16.
Tickets for dinner and the show are $40 and reservations may be made by calling (620) 225-1001.
The cast of "Funny Money"
Jean Perkins Darleen Clifton Smith
Henry Perkins Kelly Carroll
Bill Tony Tebow
Detective Sergeant Davenport Lee Griffith
Betty Johnson Kara Yoder
Vic Johnson Kent Ross
Detective Sergeant Slater Bradley Lies
A Passer By Michael Barnett
The menu for "Funny Money"
Seven Bean Medley Soup
Oven Roasted Beef with Pan Gravy
Seasoned Mashed Potatoes
Winter Vegetables Mix
Home-Style Sweet Rolls
Caramel Bread Pudding