Murder at the Howard Johnson’s

It’s Comic Mayhem as El Paseo Arts Brings Murder at the Howard Johnson’s to the SPI Convention Center Stage on April 25th – 27th of this year.

“Funny is funny!”  Variety

Is all fair in love?  Even murder? That’s the question posed by Ron Clark and Sam Bobrick’s hilarious comedy about a love triangle set at the Howard Johnson Motel in the 1970’s. Murder at the Howard Johnson’s is centered on the relationships between various combinations of three people: Arlene and Paul, who are husband and wife, and Arlene’s lover, Dr. Mitchell Lovell, the couple’s dentist. In the first scene, the Arlene and Mitchell plot to murder her husband Paul because he loves her too much too give her a divorce.  In the second scene, Arlene and Paul are plotting to murder her lover, Mitchel because he has been unfaithful to her. The third scene has the husband and the lover, now allies, plotting to murder Arlene because she is unfaithful to them both.  As this is a comedy, you might guess that this attempt, like the others, fails.  With its many twists and turns during the mixed-up mayhem, this show will have you laughing yourself silly.

This is a small ensemble show with only three actors so it’s essential that the cast have talent and chemistry.  The three actors in this cast have both qualities in spades.  Brenda Bailey skillfully creates the zany character of Arlene, the fickle and self-centered housewife who is at the center of the men’s hilarious heartbreaks.  She can’t seem to make up her mind about what or whom she wants. So, she pursues her quest for self-fulfillment and plays out her romantic fantasies from one man to another.  Dave Boughter as Arlene’s husband, Paul, masterfully delivers his great one-liners with the gloomy and sarcastic style that is perfectly suited to the pessimistic, self-sacrificing nature of the “loser” and cuckolded used car salesman husband.  The third corner of the eternal triangle is provided by Danny Dollar who perfectly captures the nerdy, egotistical, would-be lothario and dandy dresser dentist who believes that his D.D.S. degree will lure any woman to his arms.  The three characters, each with “self” at the center of their own universe, are representative of the “me” generation, and prescient of the “me too” generations to follow.  The three performers, working together, have a comfortable and charming rapport that enhances the spirit of playfulness and absurdity evoked by the absurdity and bizarre logic that underpin the plot.

The evening’s entertainment begins at 6:30 P.M., with light hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar provided by PadreRitaGrill.  The curtain goes up for the show at 7:30 P.M.  Tickets for Murder at Howard Johnson’s are $30 per person or $25 per person for El Paseo Arts members.  Tickets are available for purchase at Paragraphs on Padre, S.O.S., the Laguna Madre Art Gallery, and online at www.elpaseoarts.org.

If you think you might enjoy an evening of romance, laughter and … murder, then Murder at the Howard Johnson’s is a show that you absolutely don’t want to miss.  It will have you laughing yourself silly.  To quote Time Magazine’s review of the show, “Funny is funny.”  This spiraling shenanigans generate their own type of shock and awe and provide a night of relentlessly hysterical comedy under the orange room of the local Ho Jo’s.

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