This February, Camden-based Workhouse Theatre raises the curtain on Apartment 3A, a romantic comedy from the prolific pen and fertile mind of playwright Jeff Daniels.
Jeff Daniels? Of Arachnophobia and Dumb and Dumber fame? Yes, the same. While the majority of America still relates to Daniels by virtue of his appearances in blockbuster films, he has carved out a nifty and respected career as independent film producer and writer for screen and stage over the past 15 years in which he’s written 11 plays.
Workhouse Theatre last brought in the talents of a renowned film star-moonlighting-as-playwright in its 2008s farce, The Underpants by Steve Martin. In that production, which co-incidentally also opened in February, the Camden-based company shattered its own attendance records over a string of well-received performances. Apartment 3A, though, while also a comedy, offers up a story and cast of characters in a setting that is a little more reality-based.
Michael Jurenek, director of the show, comments, “The characters in the play are interesting and easy to relate to. Their flaws are not so much tragic shortcomings as they are the foibles of everyday people in a complex world. The play doesn’t shy away from the serious, but the the characters deal with their problems with charm and humor. As such, the play has great heart.”
Apartment 3A, according to Workhouse Theatre, features a television employee named Annie who has lost her faith in God, men, and even (gasp!) PBS. Reeling from the loss of what she thought was the love of her life, Annie searches for a reason to hope again with a mysterious next-door neighbor who teaches her what it truly means to be in love forever.
“At its center,” says Jurenek, “it is a play about finding hope when it seems that all hope is lost; finding happiness in unexpected places, and learning that while the world can be a brutal place, there is still room for love if you’re open to it.”
Jurenek returns to Workhouse Theatre, having appeared as Uncle Peck in last spring’s How I Learned to Drive. Explaining his return to the fold, Jurenek says, “I could see that there was a real sense of community among the artists and staff at Workhouse Theatre. It was obvious why those people kept coming back. There is a clear commitment to the artists who work here, and the support from the community was palpable.”
Apartment 3A runs for 10 performances over the first three weekends in February, opening Friday, February 5. Tickets are $10 in advance or $12 at the door ($8/$10 students/seniors), though special discounted nights are available. Visit www.work housetheatre.org or call 612-386-5763 for more details.
Workhouse Theatre’s 2009 – 2010 season is made possible, in part, by season sponsorships from Papa’s Restaurant and Deli, Steamworks Coffee, Camden Pet Hospital, Northside Arts Collective, Northwest Minneapolis Business Association and Camden Lions.