HUNTINGTON — Guess who is coming to dinner again?
When First United Methodist Church was looking for another Jon Joy play for its 2009 dinner theater, Joy couldn’t resist continuing the wacky adventures of Bitsy and Boots, two aunts who put the fun in dysfunctional.
Joy, who graduated from Marshall University in 2004 with a master’s in English, said he couldn’t resist writing more about “Bitsy and Boots,” after First United Methodist Church did the original play last winter for its dinner theater.
Not unlike Tyler Perry’s endless well with Madea, Joy said the two aunts are ripe for comedic writing.
“Even when I did it last year those characters were really special, and I realized I could really do a lot more with them,” Joy said. “We were talking about a sequel even during rehearsals last year, and there may be more to come.”
The new comedy, “Bitsy, Boots… and Ida,” makes its premiere at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday night at First United Methodist Church, 1124 5th Ave.
Dinner for the show starts at 6:30 p.m. Dinner and the show costs $22; $8 for children under 12, or (space permitting) you can see the show only for $5.
Seating is limited so reservations are required. Child care is available.
Produced and directed by Jerry Morse, “Bitsy, Boots… and Ida” stars Jane Morse and Loretta Hetzer (both returning to reprise their title roles from a year ago) and Rebecca Payne as Ida, Joy as Tommy, Melissa Langham as Kat and Zach Davis as Max.
In the first play, Tommy had brought his fiancee to meet his quirky aunts, and the craziness of family issues and small-town drama ensued.
In the sequel, the play picks up after Tommy proposed to Kat and wedding preparations are being made.
“They’re getting married and coming back home to do it, and they have a cousin named Ida who presumably is just staying for a couple days but she won’t leave,” Joy said. “She is very demanding and a bit condescending and gets on everybody’s nerves so they’re all trying to get rid of her before the wedding.”
Joy said everyone will identify with characters like Ida and the dysfunctional, happy mess that is wedding planning.
“I think it was Bernie Mac talking saying that every family has that one member and if you can’t think of who it is, it’s you,” Joy said.
Joy has written nearly 20 plays. He has had one printed in The New York Times, performed at Columbus’ Fringe Festival, FestivALL Charleston and Marshall University’s New Works Festival, and next month is having one of his plays, “The Princess of Rome, Ohio,” performed in New York City.
Joy said he’s glad to be able to contribute to such a good cause as the First United Methodist Dinner Theater, which has, during the past 16 years, raised more than $35,000 to support community and mission projects and to aid in national and international relief efforts.
“That is what I love about it,” Joy said. “The money is going to a good cause, and I can kind of do my thing and create this new piece and now it is something more than just a typical production. The money is going to a more important cause, and we can make everybody laugh at the same time.”
Director Jerry Morse said the play is a labor of love for the church, which will have between 40 and 60 volunteers nightly to help with the show, and to help serve and clean up after the crowd.
Morse said it is a major effort to put together the dinner which includes: Prime rib au jus or glazed Cornish hen, tossed salad, baked potato, green beans or pearl onions, dilly rolls and assorted Valentine desserts.
“The meal has always been a drawing card because it’s hard to find a full prime rib dinner for that price without the show in town,” Morse said. “And the play is always good. It’s family entertainment and a good way to get a lot of people involved at the church.”
Call 304-522-0357 or 740-867-8576 for more information or to make a reservation.
If you go
WHAT: A brand new comedy, “Bitsy, Boots… and Ida” by Jonathan Joy.
WHERE: The First United Methodist Church, 1124 Fifth Ave., in Huntington.
WHEN: Performance dates are Friday, Feb. 13, and Saturday, Feb. 14. Dinner is served at 6:30 p.m. The show starts at 8 p.m.
HOW MUCH: Dinner and a show is $22; $8 for children under 12; and show only (space permitting) is $5. Child care is also available upon request.
WHAT’S FOR DINNER: Prime Rib au Jus or Glazed Cornish Hen, tossed salad, baked potato, green beans or pearl onions, dilly rolls and assorted Valentine desserts.
FOR THE CAUSE: Proceeds from the show go to church missions.
DID YOU KNOW? Marshall graduate Jon Joy has written nearly 20 plays. He has had a play printed in The New York Times, read the last one at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco, as Joy was one of 10 winners of the David Mamet Writing Contest, performed at FestivALL Charleston and at Marshall University’s New Works Festival.
MAKE RESERVATIONS: Call 304-522-0357 or 740-867-8576 for more information or to make a reservation.