Taking the Plunge

The plot seems straight out of Montel. Guy, who's looking to hook up his lonely buddy, finds him the perfect girl: his own wife. But the story goes beyond daytime trash in the new play What About Luv?

Based on Luv, the popular 1963 play by Murray Schisgal, What About Luv? was adapted into a musical comedy by Jeffrey Sweet, Howard Marren and Susan Birkenhead. It tells the story of the despondent Harry (Jimmy Phillips), who we first meet as he's ready to throw himself off a bridge. Meanwhile, Harry's old school buddy Milt (Terry Jones) is also at the bridge, but for another reason: to off his wife Ellen (Carolyn Johnson) so he can run off with his secretary. The solution seems simple: Set up Harry with Ellen, and all four live happily ever after. But a year later, Ellen is bored with Harry, and Milt wants his wife back. So the former couple plans Harry's demise -- at the very same bridge where they all first came together.

"It's very dry and witty with a lot of fabulous one-liners," says director Linda Phenix. "Schisgal wrote it at a time when he thought love was viewed as a commodity rather than an emotion, and things haven't changed much since then. We think we can buy something or look a way that will automatically make us more attractive and find that special person."

Refreshingly, Luv's songs are an extension of the plot and characters, rather than show-stopping tunes that seem out of place. "Harry is such a sad sack," says Phenix. "Yet he's consumed with life's big questions, and the music evokes that anguish."
Wed., March 8, 8 p.m.; Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sun., March 26, 5 p.m. Starts: March 8. Continues through April 8


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