Ghostlight Theatre co-artistic director Richard Vines chose the comedy “Cheaper by the Dozen” as a family affair for audiences.
“It’s a timeless story of a close-knit family,” Vines said. “I’m sure almost everyone could relate to this in some form or fashion.”
“Cheaper by the Dozen,” which opens April 6 at Valley Vista Performing Arts Center, follows a family with 12 children as they grow up in New Jersey. The play is based on an autobiographical book about the Gilbreth family, which was adapted into a film in 1950 starring Clifton Webb, Myrna Loy and Jeanne Crain.
But many people are more familiar with the 2003 remake with Steve Martin and Bonnie Hunt, as well as the sequel.
The play is similar to the original film and the book, according to Vines, who co-directs the production with Jay Horn.
“Many people are familiar with the story and the popular Steve Martin movies, but we’re going right back to the original source material,” Vines said.
Vines said his cast of 16, ranging in age from 10 to adult, worked hard on the characters.
“They’ve been great to work with and put in some time,” he said. “I’m sure a lot of them understand what it’s like to be in a large family.”
Emily Woerner, a Surprise resident who portrays the mother in the family, said she knows how it feels at times.
“I might not have 11 siblings, but I’m one of five and that’s pretty chaotic at times,” Woerner said. “This show is very true to life.”
Woerner, who last appeared in “Moon Over Buffalo” at Ghostlight, said she’s enjoyed her experience with “Cheaper by the Dozen,” especially working with the children.
“They’ve been great to work with and are pretty responsible, because they know their lines and everyone else’s, so they’re on top of it,” Woerner said.
With the play set in the 1920s, Vines said he took a simple, scaled-down approach to the set rather than “make it all about the scenery.”
“This show starts out with two characters looking back on their life and how it was, so we scaled it down a little because it’s about the story and relationships in this family,” he said. “That’s what drives the play and why people love it so much.”