The Foreigner by Larry Shue

Coming soon to Provision Theater is an American classic entitled, The Foreigner. The man who wrote the play seems to be an American classic in and of himself. Even though he got the chance to enjoy only a short time on this earth, his plays continue to live on through the astounding talent of the men and women involved in theater all across the United States.

Larry Shue, the original playwright, was born on July 23, 1946 and died on September 23, 1985. He was an American playwright and actor, best known for writing two very popular productions; The Nerd and The Foreigner.

Born in Louisiana, he was raised and grew up in parts of Kansas and in Illinois, as well, specifically in Chicago. He graduated from Illinois Wesleyan University in 1968, served in the Army during the Vietnam War, and then began his career as a professional actor and playwright. The transition from the battle field to the calm inner workings of a theater had to be different than what he was used to. He worked in repertory in New York, and appeared in One Life to Live. His film appearances include the shorts A Common Confusion; Another Town; and The Land of the Blind: or The Hungry Leaves; and the feature-length Sweet Liberty.

The Nerd and The Foreigner were written and first performed while he was playwright-in-residence at the Milwaukee Repertory Theater.

The Nerd premiered in April 1981, and was produced successfully in London’s West End. It transferred to Broadway in 1987. It is a simple character-based comedy, in which a normal dinner party, interrupted by the house-guest from hell, escalates into insanity.

The Foreigner, on the other hand, premiered in 1983 and transferred to Off-Broadway. The central character is Charlie Baker, who, while on a vacation in a Georgia hunting lodge, pretends not to be able to understand English, so as to avoid the attentions of the other guests. His plan backfires and he soon finds himself the confidant of everyone there, especially a young boy named Ellard, who thinks he is teaching Charlie English.

“This is my first production at Provision and I am so excited, and have loved every minute of it,” actress Glory Kissel says, “I am hoping to be as honest, thorough and right on in my character analysis of Betty Meeks. I hope all of us together bring a fun-filled, strong ensemble show to Provision Theater that has a great message through humor and wisdom!”

In agreement with his fellow actor up on Provision’s stage, Colin Wasmund, who plays Own Musser says, “I always wish to succeed as an actor individually, but nothing is more important to me than coming together with everyone else in the cast/crew to show the audience an awesome time at this show!”

Although, Shue’s success was short-lived, the plays he produced lived on long after he was gone. With only two years of The Foreigner being open to the public, he died in the crash of a commuter plane in the Shenandoah Valley near Weyers Cave, Virginia, at the age of 39.

By: Christine Petrick

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