Audiences will be treated to a cross between James Bond and Inspector Clouseau this weekend as the Mouse River Players present "Get Smart."
The production is based on the television series of the same name, written about midway through the run, in 1967. Mel Brooks and Buck Henry wrote the series, and Christopher Sergel adapted it for the stage.
For anyone familiar with the series, the characters are joyously reminiscent. C.J. Leigh plays the bumbling but lucky Maxwell Smart, also known as Agent 86, and Sonia Polinsky portrays the seductive and intelligent Agent 99.
Terry J. Aman/MDN - - From left are C.J. Leigh as Maxwell Smart, Courtney Knickerbocker as Hodgkins, Sonia Polinsky as Agent 99, Karen Anderson as Miss Finch, David Bradley as the Chief, Anthony Anderson as Professor Dante and Kena Davidson as Princess Ingrid in rehearsal for the Mouse River Players production of “Get Smart.”
Terry J. Aman/MDN - - Tension mounts with an armed standoff among standing, from left, Kena Davidson as Princess Ingrid, Claudia Nettleton as Shirley Wong and Brittany Knickerbocker as Mary Wong and, seated, Sonia Polinsky as Agent 99, left, and C.J. Leigh as Maxwell Smart in rehearsal for the Mouse River Players production of “Get Smart.”
The two work for CONTROL, with David Bradley playing the Chief, Alex Schoenberg-Carton as Agent 44 and Thomas Burke as Agent 13. They are battling their archnemesis KAOS, with Brian McAteer playing Mr. Big, its head, as the spy-jinks ensue.
"There are about 20 actors, and I look at the cast list, and you know, I haven't worked with maybe two-thirds of them before," said director Conrad Davidson. "There are a lot of high school students, some from Bishop Ryan and Our Redeemers. This show has a lot of opportunity to cast younger kids."
Davidson said his biggest challenge wasn't the period setting. The actors could figure out the Cold War and the comedy was made for big, broad characters. Rather, many of his actors were new to the stage so he had to teach such stagecraft as projection and presence.
"Get Smart" runs Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. in the Arlene Saugstad Theater. Admission is $10 or by season ticket. Reservations can be made by calling 1-866-667-1977.
"I have a good crew with Jennifer Brandt as stage manager and Courtney Knickerbocker as her assistant," he said. "They worked with the newbies very well. It's nice having a dependable crew like that."
The youngest actor he has is McKenna Thompson, 8, who plays Little Sister to Maddie Thompson as Big Sister.
"McKenna was in a show when she was about 3, and I worked with her then, but she claims she doesn't remember it," he said, smiling.
The play uses some voice-overs, like announcements in a bus terminal, and those are voiced by Tim Knickerbocker.
"There are kidnappings, criminal masterminds and some special effects," Davidson said. "It's a fun little entertaining show. I'm not sure there are any lessons to be learned except that there are always bad guys in the world. Actually, it's almost prophetic Mr. Big is trying to destroy the Statue of Liberty with his Inthermo weapon, then start on the state capitols.
"It's just a lot of fun," he said.