The Ark Valley Players will present the comedy “Leading Ladies,” by playwright Ken Ludwig, on Aug. 2-4 at the historic Burford Theatre in downtown Arkansas City.

“AVP is thrilled to present our first full-scale production at the Burford,” said Michelle Zakharov, Ark Valley Players board president. “After many hours of work, this talented cast, under the direction of Dejon Ewing, will blow audiences away.”

Curtain call is at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 2-4, and there will be a special dinner-and-show option available on Aug. 4.

Tickets are $12 for the show or $25 for dinner-show combo and are available online at arkvalleyplayers.com/box-office, or by calling Ark Valley Players’ official box office at Schmidt Jewelers at (620) 442-3045 or the Burford Theatre at (620) 442-5895.

The Burford Theatre will be host to a cash bar at all performances.

“This play is just plain fun. We’ve had many hilarious moments during rehearsals that brought the cast and crew to tears, laughing so hard,” Zakharov said.

“Men dressing as women in ridiculous-looking costumes have had the cast trying to keep straight faces during the rehearsal process, just because of how outlandish the characters look.”

“We have a really great cast, and they’re enjoying each other as a group, which is making our first production such fun for everyone,” she added.

“It’s just an old-fashioned farce that doesn’t take itself too seriously. It truly is a blast and it’s our hope that the audience will have the same kind of fun we’ve had during the creation process.”

‘Leading Ladies’ premise

Following a dismal performance in front of the Moose Lodge in Shrewsbury, Pennsylvania, down-and-out Shakespearean actors Leo Clark and Jack Gable devise a hair-brained, get-rich-quick scheme.

After seeing a newspaper article about an ailing local woman, Florence Snider, desperate to find her long-lost sister’s children, Max and Steve — who moved to England as children — the two men are eager to be cut in on the woman’s $3 million estate.

Leo and Jack lay the framework for a plan, only to discover surprisingly that the old woman is not looking for nephews, but her nieces, Maxine and Stephanie.

The hilarity in Ludwig’s comedy begins when — undeterred — Leo and Jack quickly alter their plan and appear as the newly found nieces.

The con becomes even more complicated when Leo falls for Florence’s niece, Meg, who is the rightful heir to the estate. The fact that Meg is engaged to a local philanthropist only adds to the mayhem.

Along with Dr. David Ross as Leo Clark and Brad Beeson as Jack Gable, the cast is rounded out by Ark Valley Players Zakharov as Meg, David Andreas as the fussy man she’s engaged to marry, Piper Leigh as roller-skating waitress Audrey, Addam Porter as Audrey’s not-so-bright boyfriend, Kevin Bennett as gregarious Doc and Donna Prichard as the elderly Aunt Florence.

This information was provided by Ark Valley Players Board President Michelle Zakharov.