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A Look At "The Last Of The Red Hot Lovers" At Cape May Stage

By Gary Wien

originally published: 09/27/2021

A Look At "The Last Of The Red Hot Lovers" At Cape May Stage

(CAPE MAY, NJ) — If you are in need of a laugh, Neil Simon’s The Last of the Red Hot Lovers is on stage now through November 21 at Cape May Stage with performances Wednesday through Sunday.  The play stars Andy Prosky and Rita Rehn. Prosky plays Barney Cashman, a middle-aged married man, overworked and overweight, who wants to join the sexual revolution before it's too late.

Cashman arranges three seductions: the first, Elaine Navazio proves to be a foul-mouthed bundle of neuroses; Bobbi Michele is next, a 20-ish actress who's too kooky by half; finally comes September and Jeanette Fisher, a gloomy, depressed housewife who happens to be married to Barney's best friend. Rita Rehn plays all three women.

A Look At "The Last Of The Red Hot Lovers" At Cape May Stage

“Our nation has lived through the sex scandals of our leaders from Bill Clinton to Donald Trump to the point that it is no longer surprising,” wrote Director Roy Steinberg in the show’s program. “Why do people behave in a way that is hurtful to someone they supposedly love? What are they looking for?”

“This production uses two comic actors at the top of their game to answer that question,” continued Steinberg. “We have the same actor in three of the female roles to suggest that Barney goes out with the same woman over and over again.  Finally, he decides that his wife is the woman he wants in his secret fantasy room.  Neil Simon writes with wisdom and compassion.  His brilliance derives from drawing characters based on human weakness that informed the work of Shakespeare, Molière, and the lazzi of commedia dell’arte.”

Both Prosky and Rehn have been part of Cape May Stage productions in the past. In addition to acting on stages across the country, they both have extensive television and theatrical roles on their resumes as well.

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“I've performed at Cape May Stage several times and love the theatre very much,” said Prosky. “Housed in a historic Victorian building in the heart of beautiful Cape May what's not to love? Roy Steinberg has done an excellent job of running the theatre for the last 10 years. Cape May Stage has a strong local fan base and gives visitors a entertainment option that is unique and engaging.”

A Look At "The Last Of The Red Hot Lovers" At Cape May Stage

In the program, Steinberg notes that “After a year and a half of shuttering our doors, we could all use a communal laugh” and few playwrights offer that the way Neil Simon does.  The author wrote such legendary works as Barefoot In The Park; Plaza Suite; Promises, Promises; Brighton Beach Memoirs; Broadway Bound; and the Pulitzer Prize winner, Lost In Yonkers. Throughout his career he received more Academy and Tony Award nominations than any other writer. 

“Neil Simon is playwright who, in my opinion, was unfairly labeled as ‘unimportant’ or a ‘lightweight’ by critics,” said Prosky.  “Most actors, including me, love doing his plays because the material is so reliable, even if the actor is not right for the role. His work is obviously witty but there is a heart and humanity to his work that is often overlooked.”

Prosky says his co-star is a triple threat - she sings, dances, and acts.  “Rita is what God intended a brilliant co-star to be.” Her television credits include Chicago Fire, Blacklist, Law and Order, Discernment Book of Evil, and Hello World.

A Look At "The Last Of The Red Hot Lovers" At Cape May Stage

Born in Washington, DC, Prosky holds a BFA in Theatre Arts from Rutgers University where he studied acting with William Esper. His television and film credits include Fosse/Verdon, The Path, John Adams, ER, Taking Woodstock, Mrs. Doubtfire, and Men in BlackHe was born into an acting family with his father (Robert) and brother (John) both accomplished actors.  John also has a BFA from Rutgers University.  The three performed together at Cape May Stage in a production of The Price by Arthur Miller. 

“To perform with my brother and father was a highlight of my career and indeed my life,” said Prosky. “Pop was so wonderful as an actor but even more wonderful as a father.  Generous, wise and clear eyed. I miss him very much and think of him every time I do any play. My brother John is a fine actor in his own right and because we were playing brothers in The Price - anyone who saw the production weather it was the run at Cape May Stage or later when the same production moved to The Walnut Street Theatre in Philly got a rare treat.”

A Look At "The Last Of The Red Hot Lovers" At Cape May Stage

The Last of the Red Hot Lovers is presented Wednesdays through Saturday at 7:00pm with shows Saturday and Sunday at 2:00pm.  The play is recommended for those 16 and older.  Tickets are available for purchase online.  Cape May Stage presents shows in the Robert Shackleton Playhouse (405 Lafayette Street) in Cape May, New Jersey.


Gary Wien has been covering the arts since 2001 and has had work published with Jersey Arts, Elmore Magazine, Princeton Magazine, Backstreets and other publications. He is a three-time winner of the Asbury Music Award for Top Music Journalist and the author of Beyond the Palace (the first book on the history of rock and roll in Asbury Park) and Are You Listening? The Top 100 Albums of 2001-2010 by New Jersey Artists. In addition, he runs New Jersey Stage and the online radio station The Penguin Rocks. He can be contacted at gary@newjerseystage.com.




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