Fred Sullivan Stars in Laughter on the 23rd Floor
Mayhem is king backstage at "The Max Prince Show," a popular 1950s comedy-variety TV series. The stress of declining ratings is eating Max alive, but his harried writing staff frantically scrambles to top each other with gags, while competing for the attention of the star performer. Inspired by the playwright’s youthful experience as a staff writer on Sid Caesar’s "Your Show of Shows," Neil Simon re-creates the competitiveness and lunacy of a real-life writer’s room in "Laughter on the 23rd Floor."
Fred Sullivan stars as Max Prince in Ocean State Theatre Company’s production of the show, running from January 29 through February 16, after recently winning rave reviews for his portrayal of Scrooge in Trinity Rep’s holiday production "A Christmas Carol." Amiee Turner as the lone female writer, Carol Wyman, will join him.
Local cast members include OSTC favorites Tom Andrew, Mark S. Cartier, and Matt DaSilva, Jean-Pierre Ferragamo, Tommy Labanaris. Rounding out the cast are newlyweds Erin and Tyler Fish.
Brad Van Grack will be directing this production. Van Grack has been a long-time member of The Capitol Steps, a musical-political satire group.
"It’s a gift role," Sullivan told EDGE. "(Max is) complex, he’s manic, he’s deeply damaged but he’s a caring and driven and hilarious guy."
Sullivan adores the real life writers who worked with Sid Caesar on "Your Show of Shows."
"Larry Gelbart is one of my heroes, Mel Brooks is one of my heroes," Sullivan said. "The play is such a love letter to that time. It’s like being in a time machine and going back to the 1950s and seeing this kind of famous writers room, how they came up with the great sketches in this variety show."