The Secret of Comedy

The Secret of Comedy

March 31 - April 16
Original script by Michael Kimball
Produced by New YORK Theater Company


By longstanding comic tradition, the secret of comedy is timing. Thus, with a jolt of ill-fated timing, begins Michael Kimball’s The Secret of Comedy, which finds comedy writer Emily Petrocelli diagnosed with a terminal illness on the same day that husband Dave, an airline pilot, wins the MegaMillions lottery. Their 30-year-old daughter Carey, herself an irreverent comic, moves back home to help her parents through the ordeal.

These are intelligent people, but each has mastered the art of avoiding emotion, Emily and Carey through their opposing senses of humor, and Dave from his years of flight training, which sets him duty-bound on a course to find a cure where none exists. Carey, complying with her mother’s ban on crying, tries to enlist Emily’s help in writing a comedy routine about death. But Emily has her own mission: to lead her family through the five stages of grief, from denial to acceptance, before she dies.

Also accepting the acceptance challenge (“You cry, you’re gone.”) is Emily’s best friend Katie, an overworked single mom, and her morbid 16-year-old adopted daughter Chenille, whom Emily hires as her Rainbow Girl after discovering the girl’s secret: She recently reneged on a suicide pact that claimed the life of her best friend.

As Emily’s illness blurs the line between dream and reality, she begins receiving nocturnal visits from her late mother Bernice, a humorless woman from whom Emily had been estranged for decades.

"A fierce breed of comedy. An emotional wringer of a new play. An intricate and wrenching study of four evolving griefs." -Portland Phoenix

"A must-see play. Theater at its best." - Portsmouth Herald

"Scintillating humor and bare-bones humanity." - Foster's Daily Democrat

March 31 - April 16
Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 p.m., Sundays at 3 p.m.

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