A little bit of laughter goes a long way

The Pierce College Theater Department will be presenting its first production of the semester in the Performing Arts Complex from March 22 to 31.

Written by Neil Simon, “Laughter on the 23rd Floor” is based on the Sid Caesar-like character Max Prince, star of “Your Show of Shows,” a weekly comedy show that aired during the early 1950s.

“Laughter on the 23rd Floor” became a Broadway hit in 1993 and ran for almost a year with 320 performances before it was turned into a movie in late 2001.

“The play’s comedy is similar to a modern day ’30 Rock’ or ‘Saturday Night Live,’” said Michael Sande, managing director of the play.

Eric Mello will be taking on the lead role of Prince, with his first debut show at Pierce.

“I heard about the play through some friends and Backstage Magazine and decided to try out for it,” Mello said.

He originally auditioned for the character of Ira, but got cast for the role of Max, which he was really happy about.

“When I found out Pierce was putting on this play I had to try out for it. Neil Simon is one of my favorites,” Mello said.

As the Theater Department receives production money from the district, a majority of proceeds are raised by ticket sales to help fund the department to produce plays throughout the year, according to Sande.

The production of “Laughter on the 23rd Floor” is directed by Gene Putnam, who has directed numerous Neil Simon plays during the 17 years he dedicated to Pierce before retiring two years ago.

The play already has a sold-out show, thanks to their 300 dedicated subscribers and 417 Facebook followers to the four plays they put on a year.

“Pierce puts on great plays. I’m familiar with Neil Simon. He’s laugh-out-loud funny. My friends and I are definitely going,” said art student Malinda Para after reading a flyer for the show.

Tickets for “Laughter on the 23rd Floor” are priced at $12 for students and seniors and $15 for general admission. For more information, or to purchase tickets, call 818-719-6488.