Hickory – THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG, opening on March 17 at the Hickory Community Theatre, is a comedy about a British theatre company struggling to successfully stage “The Murder at Haversham Manor”. Over the course of the evening, an unconscious leading lady, a corpse who can’t play dead, a ruffled detective, and a word-mangling butler (among others) must battle against technical gaffes, forgotten lines, and sabotaging scenery in a quest to arrive all in one piece at the final curtain call. Reuniting for this outrageous comedy are four actors who last worked together in the HCT production of SOMETHING ROTTEN.

William E. Morgan’s character, Chris, is the director of the play within the play who also plays the Inspector. It’s an ideal role for Morgan, since he has directed numerous local productions, including TRUE WEST at HCT and WEST SIDE STORY at The Green Room Community Theatre. he is an accomplished actor, with over 60 roles to his credit. He made his HCT debut in 2006 as Cosmo in SIGNIN’ IN THE RAIN, for which he received both an HCT Kay Award and a Metrolina Theatre Association Award as Outstanding Supporting Actor. When asked about choosing to return for this production, Morgan replied, “I am a fan of farces, and having played Lloyd twice before in Noises Off, I thought I’d give it a shot.”

Branden Nuhfer’s character, Max, has never been on stage before. The same can’t be said of Nuhfer, who has acted in numerous productions, including HELLO DOLLY at The Green Room and two recent outings at HCT, THE DROWSY CHAPERONE and SOMETHING ROTTEN. He received the Outstanding Newcomer Kay Award for his HCT debut as Margaret Mead in HAIR and the Outstanding Male Lead for Nigel in SOMETHING ROTTEN. Nuhfer is also active off stage in the theatre. He accomplished drummer and served as Music Director for ROCK OF AGES at HCT, and he teaches acting for the Green Room’s Creative Works program.

Christian Underwood’s character, Jonathan, is a bad actor who spends most of the play being dead. That’s a real departure for Underwood, a talented actor whose credits span from musical comedy roles like Feldzig the theatrical producer in THE DROWSY CHAPERONE at HCT, to the title role in HAMLET at the Green Room. A year ago he took on the challenge of acting in an original play, being the first actor to play the role of Tomás in BY THE BEAUTIFUL BEAUTIFUL SEA. That role brought him an Outstanding Ensemble Kay Award from HCT. By day, Underwood is a second grade teacher for Catawba County Schools. When asked to name his favorite thing about HCT, he replied, “I love the work ethic of everyone involved with each show.”

Justin Wilson’s character, Trevor, is not an actor, he’s the lighting and sound guy and he hates actors. The same is not true of Wilson, who says that one of his favorite things about HCT is, “being around very talented people who help me grow.” Hailing from Lincolnton, Wilson is currently a Senior Theatre Major at Lenoir-Rhyne University, where he most recently appeared as Dan in the musical drama NEXT TO NORMAL in 2021. That same year, Wilson made his HCT debut as an Ensemble member in the musical comedy SOMETHING ROTTEN, a role that brought him a Kay Award for Outstanding Character Male.

Performances of THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG are March 17 through April 1 in the Jeffers Theatre. Tickets for all performances are $16 for adults and $10 for youth and students. For tickets visit hickorytheatre.org or call the box office at 828-328-2283.

The HCT’s 74th season is sponsored by Paramount Automotive, Sunbelt Xpress and Frye Regional Medical Center. HCT is a funded affiliate of the United Arts Council of Catawba County. THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG is being produced by CommScope and Green Park Dentistry.

PHOTO: (from left) Branden Nuhfer, William E. Morgan, Christian Underwood and Justin Wilson in THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG. Photo by Eric Seale.