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Wild slapstick abounds in 'The Play That Goes Wrong' at Springfield Little Theatre

It's live theatre, so things sometimes go wrong for real — with hilarious results, says director Beth Domann.

"The Play That Goes Wrong" by Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields is the current production by Springfield Little Theatre at the Landers, 311 E. Walnut St., now through March 19.

In this classic slapstick-whodunnit comedy, accident-prone actors attempt to get through their play to the final curtain call. It’s the opening night of "The Murder at Haversham Manor," and things are quickly going from bad to utterly disastrous.

Today on “Arts News,” Little Theatre Managing Director Beth Domann, one of the show’s co-directors along with Marnie Erwin, talked about the production, for which “tickets are selling fast,” she says. “So you want to get your tickets now.”

Domann describes the show as “not like anything you’ve ever seen before. Truly. It’s like ‘Noises Off’… on crack! Everything that can go wrong, goes wrong. It’s an actor’s nightmare.”

And possibly a director’s as well, says Domann. “I can honestly say it’s the hardest show I’ve ever done in my life!”

The mishaps, apparently, aren’t confined to what’s in the written script: with nine actors and extremely fast-paced slapstick action, “you just have to keep driving through whatever happens. And the crackup — well, that people don’t know — is some of the things that go wrong that aren’t supposed to go wrong (i.e. they’re not in the script), and watching the cast have to deal with those things, staying in character,” says Domann. “I’m always entertained to see, how are they going to deal with this?”

For that reason alone, the sheer unpredictability, you might want to consider seeing “The Play That Goes Wrong” more once. But there aren’t that many chances left. Performances are tonight and tomorrow night at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m., and again next Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and closing Sunday March 19 at 2 p.m. Tickets range from $17 to $37, and are available at the Landers box office, 417-869-1334, or online at

Randy Stewart joined the full-time KSMU staff in June 1978 after working part-time as a student announcer/producer for two years. His job has evolved from Music Director in the early days to encompassing production of a wide range of arts-related programming and features for KSMU, including the online and Friday morning Arts News. Stewart assists volunteer producers John Darkhorse (Route 66 Blues Express), Lee Worman (The Gold Ring), and Emily Higgins (The Mulberry Tree) with the production of their programs. He's also become the de facto "Voice of KSMU" in recent years due to the many hours per day he’s heard doing local station breaks. Stewart’s record of service on behalf of the Springfield arts community earned him the Springfield Regional Arts Council's Ozzie Award in 2006.