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Where There’s

No Will, A

Great Show’s

On The Way

By Rebecca Nance



ne cold, late February evening, in a studio on the outskirts of Times Square, eight actors commence their

rehearsal of
Where There’s No Will, a new farce-comedy and world premier play by Leon Kaye, scheduled to

begin its limited engagement on March 22nd at the Medicine Show Theatre. In this well-suited ensemble, each

actor performs with unmistakable confidence. They ad-lib with vaudevillian polish, digging into their characters

and challenging fellow cast members to respond in-kind and to up the ante. From the sidelines, director Dan

Conrad grins widely, laughing raucously along while his actors continue hashing out Will’s first act.

A refreshingly pure instance of farce-comedy, Kaye’s Where There’s No Will embodies all the aspects of this

genre that grew out of American vaudeville and hearkens even further back to the British operetta. Will’s sharp,

witty dialogue flies at lightning speed. The members of its ensemble cast enter and exit faster than they can

keep track of one another. Expert timing amidst utter chaos facilitates absurd misunderstandings, reveals

startling plot-twists and ultimately resolves in a thoroughly unpredictable state of affairs.

Where There’s No Will begins in a well-to-do Albany home, circa 1930. A doddering Doc Morris (Michael Jabin)

consoles Emma (Kathryn Fucci) as she bemoans the recent death of her elderly mother. Soon, Emma’s boorish

husband Hal (Paul White) and the suave family lawyer/undertaker Jacobs (Greg Vorob) come to the startling

revelation that Emma’s late mother failed to sign her Last Will and Testament, leaving her considerable estate up

for grabs. As chaos ensues we meet Emma’s tough-as-nails Aunt Liz (Eileen Karlson), the nefarious neighbor

Nick (Florenciani) and Dom (Roland Uruci), a mobster hoping to make the “big time”. Every farce needs an

innocent bystander and so enters The Plumber (David Thomas Crowe). Everyone has a unique plan for the

fortune’s future, but as the best-laid plans unravel, all are left clamoring in this laugh-a-line, family-friendly


Where There’s No Will has transitioned considerably from its inception as a staged reading (at a seniors’ center,

no less) into the Off-Off Broadway production opening in March. Unable to keep the original cast intact for a

variety of reasons, the producers sought new faces to fill in the blanks. In spite of these changes, the sentiment

regarding the cast’s present incarnation remains positive. Vorob, who also played Jacobs in the staged reading,

appreciates the rarity that his present cast mates exhibit such “equal respect for each other as artists and as

people.” In fact, many involved in
Will share history either as friends or professional acquaintances, allowing the

off-stage drama so often characteristic of the theatre to fall by the wayside, creating a far more productive


The actors’ cheerful grins and friendly banter during rehearsal testify to their collective enthusiasm. A demanding

ensemble piece,
Where There’s No Will relies on cultivating this very positive dynamic. Kaye’s spitfire

dialogue and action, Fucci explains, require extremely focused, active listening among the actors. For Crowe,

this communication is like surfing, connecting individual action with the ensemble’s emotional ebb and flow.

More fundamentally, Uruci stresses the value of trust, noting, “If I have to worry about saving someone else’s

lines, I’m not really going to be able to do my own job”. It’s clear from watching Will’s cast rehearse, that these

actors trust each other completely.

From the ensemble members' varied backgrounds, each actor

contributes his or her own unique element to
Where There’s No Will.

Fucci, who was part of the reading, has worked most recently in film.

For her, however, only live theatre offers “that fire” of creating an

immediate bond with one’s audience and fellow actors. Vorob has

considerable directing experience, while both Uruci and Florenciani hail

from the world of sketch comedy and improvisation, their credentials

lending a vital spontaneity to the performance. Florenciani, who lives

full-time in LA, also tends a burgeoning music career. With respective

backgrounds in operetta and musical theatre, White and Crowe are

well-accustomed to the over-the-top brand of physical acting that farce

comedy entails. White (whose mother, Eileen Karlson, plays Aunt Liz)

also works as a stage combat choreographer.

When coaching
Will’s ensemble, director Conrad calls upon his own

acting experience, encouraging thoughtful, detailed character development.

Conrad’s approach is mostly hands-off, however, allowing his

actors to approach this development in their own way. For each role he

plays, Roland Uruci buys a watch, “a man’s only real accessory,” which

provides a tangible basis for his character. Dom’s watch: a heavy, metal

face supported by a brown leather band. Florenciani, on the other

hand, knew his character from the time he first read the script, and

found his energetic portrayal of Nick in close friend and fellow New

York-born actor Johnny Tammaro, of the Off-Broadway hit
Tony n’ Tina’sWedding (and like his character Nick, Florenciani is from the Bronx). To

cultivate The Plumber’s befuddled, Swedish dialogue, Crowe studied

a variety of sources before re-typing his entire role phonetically in his script, a measure that’s earned some

good-natured teasing from his cast mates. White, who studies both the play’s time period as well as those

around him when creating a role, feels his character come most completely alive once he’s in costume and the

transformation is complete.

The Random Coconuts production of
Where There’s No Will marks two exciting initiations. Not only is this the

first full-scale production for one of Leon Kaye’s plays, it’s also Conrad’s NYC directorial debut. In spite of these

potentially daunting circumstances, Conrad remains confident. His staging and set design will truly take Kaye’s

work over-the-top, utilizing a vibrant, comic book-esque presentation. Brightly colored costumes and very big,

very physical acting will help realize Conrad’s vision; think Dick Tracy meets Noises Off. Florenciani acknowledges

the serendipitous coming together of all the production’s elements and predicts, as opening night nears, and Will

continues to grow, “Everybody’s going to surprise each other.” Where There’s No Will’s director and performers

are definitely on their way to building this little-show-that-could into a delightful production that promises good,

clean, uproarious fun for audience members of all ages.

Left to right: Kathryn Fucci, Paul White, Florenciani and Greg Vorob of

Where There’s No Will, which opens March 22 at the Medicine Show Theatre

in New York.

“Everybody’s going to surprise each other,”

says Florenciani (above), who based the

portrayal of his character Nick on fellow

actor and friend Johnny Tammaro.


Where There’s No Will, a new comedy by Leon Kaye. Directed by Dan Conrad. With Paul White, Kathryn Fucci, Florenciani, Greg Vorob, Eileen Karlson, Michael

Jabin, Roland Uruci and David Thomas Crowe. Opens March 22, 2005 at the Medicine Show Theatre, 549 West 52nd Street (Near 10th Avenue) [Near A,C,E trains].

Limited Run. Tickets: $25-20 at TheaterMania: http://www.theatermania.com/content/show.cfm/show/118237 or by phone (212)352-3101.