The era of Prohibition, speak-easies and wide-lapelled mobsters comes to life with the upcoming production of The Ragweed Blues, an original American comedy presented by Rogue River Community Theater.
Nearly four dozen actors are participating in the play, which runs April 26-29th at the Kent Theatre in Cedar Springs.
Set in New York City, Ragweed Blues mimics the classic, old, black and white gangster movies of the 1920s and 1930s, featuring legendary Hollywood actors like James Cagney, Pat O’Brien and Humphrey Bogart, explained Director Patricia Rose.
“The gangster movies from Hollywood’s golden era are American treasures and there’s been renewed interest in the noir, especially with the success of “The Artist,’’ she said, referring to black-and-white melodrama which earned five Academy Awards last month, including best picture.
“Taking it a step further, we’ve included slap-stick comedy based on many of the old Hollywood matinee idols of that era,’’ Rose said. “There is romance, a sting operation, a movie set and gangsters all caught up in The Great Depression in New York City circa 1930.’’
Audiences will especially enjoy a memorable fight scene that includes Tommy guns, brawling and bawling.
Era-specific costumes and music, along with plenty of high-jinx and a surprise ending “will have the audience laughing throughout the show,’’ she said. “Many of the characters are based on real-life figures viewers will know.’’
The local theater group, established over 20 years ago, includes award-winning actors of stage and film who’ve been rehearsing for the spring show since early February.
Proceeds from a special matinee performance on Sunday, April 29 will benefit the Rockford Historical Society in its quest to purchase the former Rockford District Court building at 105 Maple Street, to house its historical museum.
“Being able to help the Rockford Historical Society with a stage production that honors a bygone era of American history seems like a perfect idea,’’ Rose said. “We are honored to be a part of this effort.’’
The Ragweed Blues will be performed Thursday, April 26, Friday, April 27 and Saturday, April 28 at 8 p.m. with a special matinee production scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday. The April 29th benefit play for Rockford Historical Museum is 2 p.m. Shows will take place at historic Kent Theatre , 8 N. Main Street in Cedar Springs.
Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and $4 for students. They can be purchased in advance at Independent Bank of Rockford and the Cedar Springs Public Library. Tickets are also available at the door at Kent Theatre.
For information, call (616) 874-5264.