'Frasier' alums reunite in Dorset's 'Slow Food'

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DORSET — "Slow Food," the final production of the Dorset Theatre Festival's 42nd season, opens on Aug. 23. The comedy stars "Fraser" alumni Peri Gilpin in the role of Irene and Dan Butler as her husband, Peter. Greg Stuhr (Broadway's "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee") will play Stephen, the waiter. The preview is Aug. 22.

"Finding a truly funny comedy is rare these days," said Dina Janis, Dorset's artistic director. "Wendy's play reminds me of Carol Burnett or Lucille Ball — it's so much fun, but also a really touching story that we can all relate to."

Dorset's production reunites Gilpin and Butler, both of whom appeared on the NBC sitcom "Frasier." Gilpin played Roz Doyle, the producer of Frasier's radio show, and Butler played Bob "Bulldog" Briscoe, the vexing host of the "Gonzo Sports Show."

As Gilpin said in an interview in the summer issue of Stratton Magazine, "Dan emailed me and said, `I wonder, are you really thinking of doing this?' And I responded, `I totally am.' I just hadn't finished the script yet because it all came at a crazy time. Once I read it, I asked him, `Are you gonna do it?' and Dan said, `I think I am.'"

Jackson Gay ("Kleptocracy," "Transfers") returns to Dorset to direct, having directed 2018's Pipeline presentation of "Invictus Mingus" by Frank Harts. Gay will be joined by scenic designer Antje Ellermann ("Building the Wall," "Stuffed"), costume designer Fabian Fidel Aguilar ("In the Heights," "Romeo and Juliet"), lighting designer Michael Giannitti (Dorset's "Downstairs," Broadway's "Joe Turner's Come and Gone"), and sound designer Sinan Refik Zafar (Dorset's "Cry It Out," Broadway's "What the Constitution Means to Me").

"Slow Food" centers around Irene and Peter, who just want to have a nice meal out on their big anniversary in Palm Springs. But their highly neurotic waiter, Stephen, will not bring them their food, and everything goes horribly, ridiculously wrong. This absurd server will have them examining everything from their menu choices to their future together.

"I read [Slow Food] and I was howling," Gilpin said. "It's so funny. It's fantastic, and it's so fun to read. I mean, this play is a riot."

Playwright Wendy Macleod previously wrote "The House of Yes," the play that later became the Sundance Award-winning film of the same name. Other notable works include "Sin and Schoolgirl Figure" (Goodman), "Juvenilia and The Water Children" (Playwrights Horizons), "Women in Jeopardy!" (Geva), and "Things Being What They Are" (Seattle Rep, extended run at Steppenwolf).

Slow Food runs Aug. 22 through 31 at the Dorset Playhouse. Single tickets are on sale now. The box office may be reached by calling 802- 867-2223 ext. 101, Tuesday through Saturday, 12 - 6 p.m. For more information, or to purchase subscriptions and tickets online, visit www.dorsettheatrefestival.org.

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