Laughter on the 23rd Floor
July 23, 2015
In the fall I am directing ArtisTree Theatre Company’s next production, LAUGHTER ON THE 23RD FLOOR by Neil Simon at Damon Hall in Hartland, VT. This is my first time working at Damon Hall and I am very excited about it. The space is very charming. Standing proudly in the center of the village of Hartland, this Colonial Revival style town hall was built in 1915 to honor the philanthropic and civic spirit of the Damon family and given to the citizens of Hartland. The Ceramics Director at ArtisTree, Fiona Davis, lives in Hartland so we were able to get access to this gem of a venue.
There’s something about New York City in the 1950s. It was a horrible time in crucial ways (sexism, racism, McCarthyism). But on the surface, it was lovely. Americans dressed up for the office, took three-hour lunches and seemed to smoke and drink blithely with little thought of the consequences. All that postwar confidence!
LAUGHTER was inspired by Simon's early career experience as a junior writer for YOUR SHOW OF SHOWS. The play focuses on Sid Caesar-like Max Prince, the star of a weekly comedy-variety show circa 1953, and his staff, including Simon's alter-ego Lucas Brickman, who maintains a running commentary on the writing, fighting, and wacky antics which take place in the writers' room.
Simon understands comedy. Through his cherished works -- including THE ODD COUPLE and BRIGHTON BEACH MEMOIRS -- Simon shows his ability to write a myriad of jokes based on the human condition. LAUGHTER ON THE 23RD FLOOR opened on Broadway at the Richard Rodgers Theatre on November 22, 1993 and closed on August 27, 1994 after 320 performances and 24 previews. Directed by Jerry Zaks the cast featured Nathan Lane, Ron Orbach, Randy Graff, Mark Linn-Baker, Bitty Schram, J. K. Simmons, and Lewis J. Stadlen.
Our production stars Christian Kohn in the lead role of Max Prince. Christian resides in Lyme, NH and teaches Acting at Dartmouth College. He has acted in over one hundred productions as a professional stage artist, working prolifically in Americas top two theatre markets - Chicago 1998 – 2003 and New York from 2003 to the present. Christian Kohn has performed in 19 states and three countries from Broadway to the urban storefront space; from the year long tour to summer stock.
The show opens November 6 and runs through November 15. Stay tuned for updates about additional casting. For more information visit