Dale Easton’s “The Drunkard” to open Friday night

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TOPEKA (KSNT) – ARTS, Inc. and Karen Hastings Players are bringing back Dale Easton’s The Drunkard this summer at the VFW Philip Billard Post 1650.

“It’s an old melodrama temperance play. The original title was 10 nights in a Bar Room. It’s about a man getting sober,” said Karen Hastings. “I acted in it when Dale Easton was directing and performing in it. It’s been going since the ’60s. When Dale retired, he asked me if I would keep it going.”

The Drunkard owns the record as the longest-running play in Topeka theater history. Opening night will be its 909th performance. The 2021 season of Dale Easton’s The Drunkard is the result of a collaboration between ARTS, Inc. and VFW Philip Billard Post 1650.

The Drunkard is complete with villains, heroines, live ragtime piano, and spirited hissing and booing from the audience. Dale Easton’s The Drunkard was adapted from a 19th-Century straight-up temperance play but skews the once-serious theater piece from its anti-liquor stance into an “over the top” satire that mocks both temperance and melodrama acting.

The melodrama comedy opens Friday, July 16 and runs on Friday and Saturday nights through July at 8:00 p.m.

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