The audience should arrive ready to be entertained. That’s director Dale Coburn’s advice.

“It’s a farce. It’s fun. They’re going to laugh,” he said.

Ken Ludwig’s “Leading Ladies” opens on Thursday, Nov. 15 at Marathon Community Theatre. Additional show dates are Nov. 16-17, Nov. 23-25, Nov. 29-Dec. 1, Dec. 6-8 with a curtain at 8 p.m. and a matinee scheduled for Sunday, Dec. 2 at 3 p.m. Tickets are $25.

“Leading Ladies,” authored by Ken Ludwig, is a big-time, complete farce, set in York, Pennsylvania in the 1950s. Two down-on-their-luck Shakespearean actors decide to pose as long-lost relatives of an ailing heiress. When Leo Clark (John Schaefer) and Jack Gable (Coburn) learn about the search for “Max” and “Steve,” they concoct a scheme to pass themselves off as her nephews. Of course, the extra laughs come when the two nephews are actually nieces and Leo and Jack resort to drag.

“They may, or may not be, great actors,” said Coburn. “But it’s still their dream.”

Abby Haddock plays Meg — a York girl with her own set of big dreams. Her counterpart is Brian Witte in the role of Rev. Duncan Woole.

“I am ‘deeply’ in ‘love’ with Meg … or after her money,” Witte said.

This is Coburn’s second stint as director at Marathon Community Theatre. He took over mid-rehearsal after the former director had to withdraw. It is Haddock’s first speaking role (excluding one reading).

Dale Coburn, stars in and directs Ken Ludwig’s “Leading Ladies,” opening this weekend. SARA MATTHIS/Keys Weekly

“I like the end where everything comes together … Well, it’s over the top,” said Haddock. “The conclusion is very funny, very unexpected.”

The cast:

Courtney Coburn as Audrey

Dale Coburn as Jack Gable, aka Steve

Abby Haddock as Meg Snider

Jim Kelly as Doc Myers

Judy Manning as Florence Snider

Alex Rickert as Butch Myers, aka Moose Frank

John Schaefer as Leo Clark, aka Max

Brian Witte as Rev. Duncan Woole

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