Little Theatre, (3/02/1977 - 3/06/1977)

First Preview: Feb 11, 1977
Opening Date: Mar 02, 1977
Closing Date: Mar 06, 1977
Total Previews: 22
Total Performances: 6

Category: Play, Comedy, Original, Broadway
Setting: An October evening in a home in Southern California.

Opening Night Production Staff

House Manager: Ashton Springer

Produced by Charles Grodin

Written by Jordan Crittenden

Directed by Charles Grodin

Scenic Design by Stuart Wurtzel; Costume Design by Joseph G. Aulisi; Lighting Design by Cheryl Thacker

Company Manager: John Corkill

Production Supervisor: Richard Scanga; Production Stage Manager: John Brigleb; Stage Manager: Ellsworth Wright

General Press Representative: Michael Alpert and Marilynn LeVine; Advertising: The Blaine Thompson Company; Photographer: Thomas Victor

Opening Night Cast

Zohra LampertMelissa Mullin
Jerry StillerHarry Mullin
Robert CostanzoDelivery Man
Constance ForslundSusan Beckerman
Anne IvesMrs. Mullin
Robert Earl JonesMan
Bill LazarusGordon
Loney LewisMr. Mullin
Frank PiazzaVince Provenzano
Michael ValeM. J. Nyberg

Understudies: Robert Costanzo (Gordon, M. J. Nyberg, Mr. Mullin, Vince Provenzano), Sandy Gabriel (Melissa Mullin, Mrs. Mullin, Susan Beckerman) and Bill Lazarus (Harry Mullin)


New York Daily News: "Anything for a laugh"

The nine persons who drop in on Jerry Stiller's Southern California ranch house one evening and provide the title for Jordan Crittenden's "Unexpected Guests," a relentless comedy trying to be a farce, or anything, that opened at the Little Theater last night, are all as emptyheaded as the play itself. Which leaves Jerry Stiller, a resourceful comedian who plays Harry Mullin, the house owner, with very little to do except express exasperation and make occasional feeble protests.

Unlike Simon Hench and those who invade his privacy during the course of a day in "Otherwise Engaged," these poor players have been given nothing witty or even sensible to do by their author, who somehow confuses mad, irrational behavior with comedy. The basic situation is that Harry gets back from work one evening to find a cello case propped up near the entrance door, a note from his wife Melissa explaining that after 10 years of marriage she has run off with a door-to-door cello salesman whose motorcycle sidecar didn't have room for both Melissa and the instrument, and a neighborhood voyeur, a young man who has come to adore Melissa and who has this evening, for reasons that escaped me, exceeded the acceptable limits of voyeurism by smashing a window and entering the house for closer inspection.

The other interlopers include Harry's very old parents, who have driven a long way but who leave for home the same evening; Harry's boyhood scoutmaster and a cheerful neighbor who decide to repair the window and of course break other things; Harry's wife Zohra Lampert, whom the cello salesman has abandoned in Barstow and who now decides to run off with the voyeur; a man delivering a case of tequila; a black man who has rung the wrong doorbell in search of his long-lost son; and Harry's son's college girl friend, who has come to spend the weekend, arriving ahead of the son who has stayed behind overnight to help prepare his roommate, a girl, for a test.

That's about all, except that at the end Harry has decided to return to college to room with his son's girl, and that the director of this tiresome nonsense is Charles Grodin, who, unluckily for him, is also the producer, though happily not the writer. And, oh yes, Stuart Wurtzel has designed a habitable living room -- that is, if you go for California ranch houses.

New York Daily News

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