On a Saturday evening in September 1965, American audiences tuned into NBC for the premiere of an exciting, laugh-out-loud, genre-defining espionage spoof comedy: “Get Smart,” created by two-time Academy Award nominee Buck Henry and Oscar-winning comedy legend Mel Brooks.
The show was immensely popular and became an instant classic. It ran for five consecutive seasons and won seven Primetime Emmy Awards.
The show follows the world-saving antics of bumbling super-sleuth Maxwell Smart, who teams up with the beautiful and extremely adept Agent 99 to take down the criminal plots of KAOS, an international secret society of evildoers.
Smart and 99’s next mission brings them to the Wood River Valley.
The Wood River High School and Middle School drama departments will present four performances of a theatrical adaptation of “Get Smart,” beginning tonight, Wednesday, Oct. 2, and continuing through Saturday.
On this outing, written in 1967 by Christopher Sergel, Smart and 99 take on a mission to stop a dastardly KAOS plot to blow up the Statue of Liberty. With the backing of their spy agency, CONTROL, the pair bumbles through a series of hilarious misadventure on their way to rescue America’s greatest icon of freedom.
The play captures the original show’s highly influential sense of humor, with plenty of misdirection, confusion, puns, catch-phrases and slapstick.
“I was always a huge fan of ‘Get Smart’ as a kid,” said director Karl Nordstrom. “I always watched it after school, so it’s been fun to work on it after school now.”
A cast of 27 students is taking to the stage, bolstered by an even larger stage crew and ensemble of technical support. Max Gardenswartz and Juliette Rollins lead the troupe as Smart and Agent 99, respectively.
For Gardenswartz, this role is a dream come true.
“I loved watching the ‘Get Smart’ remake with Steve Carell when I was young, and being a spy has always been a dream of mine,” he said.
Since working on this play, both he and Rollins have gotten hooked on the original 1960s television series, and Gardenswartz acknowledged that it is far superior to the cinematic adaptation of 2008.
The production boasts an elaborate rotating set,
lavish costumes and intricate props, including some staples from the
show like Maxwell Smart’s iconic shoe-phone.
All these elements serve to develop and hone the humor of the show, which, according to Rollins, is infectious and makes for the perfect theatrical material.
“This comedy is the best. It’s a lot of fun to play the ‘straight man’ to Max’s silliness. For us, it’s the ideal show. I think people are really going to leave happy,” she said.
Each performance will be held at the Wood River High School Performing Arts Theater in the Community Campus, 1050 Fox Acres Road in Hailey.
Tonight and Thursday, the play will begin at 6 p.m. The Friday performance will take place at 7 p.m., and a Saturday afternoon matinee will follow at 1 p.m.
Tickets are $8 for adults, $5 for seniors and veterans, $3 for middle school students and $1 for elementary school students and small children.