‘It’s only a (hiliarious) play’

PUHI — When Arnold Meister puts out a casting call, people listen.

The man considered the godfather of theater on Kauai is directing “It’s Only a Play,” that opens tonight at the Puhi Theatrical Warehouse.

His cast offered praise, and a few jokes, about working for him.

“Getting the chance to actually work with him is actually amazing,” said Chris Alderete, who plays Frank Finger, British director of the show. “I’m really, really blessed.

Bailey Hutton plays Peter Austin, who wrote the play. He said Meister is “one of the directors who will push you as an actor. It doesn’t matter how good you are. He can always take you to the next level up.”

Isaac Worth, who plays Gus P. Head, wanted to be part of the comedy.

“And once I found out Arnold was directing it, I immediately rushed to the auditions as quick as I could,” he said.

Ross Martineau, who plays James Wicker, said when the call goes out Meister is going to be directing, that’s a big draw.

When asked what Meister does well as director, Martineau deadpanned: “He stays out of my way.” Then added with a grin, “I’m kidding.”

“He’s a pro. He knows what he wants. He knows how to get it. He’s just a joy to work with. He’s always positive. Amazingly positive.”

As for Meiser, he’s just pleased to have a terrific cast that’s ready to go for opening night of It’s Only a Play.

It’s a production he’s long wanted to bring to Kauai since seeing it a few years ago at the Booth Theatre in Times Square.

“I just laughed all the way through it,” he said. “I thought, ‘I want to do that play.’”

“It’s Only A Play is a sort of microcosm of the hustle and bustle of the Broadway scene,” Meister added.

“So, in a way, this production is a local guy’s tribute to all the chemistry and magic that goes into a hit or miss on the Great White Way,” he wrote.

Kauai Community Players will present the Broadway comedy by Terrence McNally. It runs for three weekends through April 10 with performances on Fridays and Saturdays at 7 p.m. and Sundays at 4 p.m.

It is described like this: “The story takes place opening night of the play The Golden Egg on Broadway, and the wealthy producer is throwing a lavish party in her lavish Manhattan townhouse. Downstairs the celebrities are pouring in, but the real action is upstairs where a group of insiders have staked themselves out in the producer’s bedroom waiting for the reviews to come in. The good natural bonhomie with which the evening begins grows steadily bitchier — and funnier — as the reviews (all bad) come in, and those assembled seek desperately to pin the blame on each other.”

Meister, who directed KCP’s “Other Desert Cities,” in 2014, promises lots of laughs.

“This is just an out-and-out comedy,” he said. “It’s a comedy about silly people who are stuck with their own egos.”

Isaac Worth said It’s Only a Play will be a fun date night.

“Have your kids stay at home, get babysitters, whatever you have to do, come down and watch the play,” he said. “It will give you a nice, good, belly full of laughs.”

Alderete, who recently directed “(title of show),” said It’s Only a Play “is absolutely hilarious. It’s a send-up to theater.

“I love theater and everything they say in this show completely reinforces every reason I love it,” he said.

Hutton said the play has many elements. He called it light-hearted, good fun.

“It’s pure entertainment,” he said. “We’ll take you to New York. We really will.”

Jo Grande plays Julia Budder, wealthy producer of the show. She likes it for its energy and attitude.

“You’re making fun of yourself,” she said. “You can get out there and be as silly as you want.”

So, why should people see it?

“If you want a good laugh, this is the one to see,” she said. “I think it’s hysterical.”

General tickets for opening weekend are $15. For remaining shows they are $20.

There is a reception after the opening night performance with the director and actors.

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