Veteran Tri-City actor Joyce Bean is back in the acting saddle after a fierce battle with cancer last year.
She will portray the cranky French housekeeper Berthe in the Richland Players production of Boeing, Boeing, which opens March 21 at The Players Theatre.
"Berthe, the keeper of secrets, is such a fun role to play," Bean said. "Her dislike for Americans and their ways surfaces periodically, but she tries to remain a loyal servant until ... well, our audiences will get to know what happens."
Boeing, Boeing, written by playwright Marc Camoletti, tells the tale of Bernard, played by Steve Montgomery, who is an American playboy living in Paris during the '60s.
He has three fiancees who are all flight attendants -- one American, one German and one Italian -- and none of them know about the others.
He's able to pull off this philandering with the help of his highly efficient housekeeper and the airline timetables.
But his life gets bumpy when his friend Robert comes to visit, and a new and much faster Boeing jet throws off all his careful planning. Soon enough, all three girlfriends are in town at the same time and the lies are getting harder to follow.
The supporting cast includes Sergio Bueno as Robert and MaryAnne Wuennecke, Jennifer Mallory and Patty Cook as the flying fiancees.
“I would love everyone to know how funny this show is,” said director Kristin Lerch. “It’s a throw-back to the 1960s comedies, like some of the great Doris Day, Rock Hudson, Cary Grant type of hilarity.”
And even though the guys are a little on the chauvinistic side the women in the show hold the real power, Lerch added.
“Our costuming is outstanding for this production, as well as makeup and hair for our air hostesses,” Lerch said. “I think our designers and set builders really captured that swinging bachelor’s flat in Paris.”
Bean is also having way too much fun portraying the feisty housekeeper despite months of chemotherapy treatments and a disfigurement from her cancer surgery, she said.
But she never lost her sense of humor.
"The disfigurement is slight, but the hardest thing emotionally was to lose my long hair and go bald due to chemo," Bean said. "My husband Roger was a tremendous support. Friends and family rallied too, so I got through most days still smiling, laughing and looking forward to bright days ahead."
Bean also credits the comedy's director Kristin Lerch for giving her a chance to return to the stage in a comedic role, which is her fort and well known to Tri-City theater lovers.
"Having Kristin cast me as Berthe was a gift, like opening a door to a new beginning into a healthy year with my first love -- theater," Bean said.
Curtain time for Boeing, Boeing is 8 p.m. March 21-22, 28-29 and April 4-5. And there's a 2 p.m. show March 30. The theater is at 610 The Parkway in Richland.
The tickets cots $12 for adults and $10 for students and seniors and are available at the box office or at www.richlandplayers.org.
-- Dori O'Neal: 582-1514; email@example.com; Twitter: @dorioneal