Black Box Theatre at McHenry County College to put on Noel Coward’s ‘Present Laughter’

The Black Box Theatre at McHenry County College will be putting on Noel Coward’s lighthearted farce “Present Laughter” as its spring production

A self-caricature of the playwright’s legendary wit and larger-than-life persona, actor Garry Essendine is the star of the London theatrical scene at the height of his fame and adored by legions of admirers — perhaps a little too much. Fans regularly throw themselves at Garry’s feet, drawn in by his charm and charisma, throwing his household into chaos. In the week before Garry is set to embark on an African tour, he is forced to juggle a infatuated young woman with stars in her eyes, an unhinged young playwright obsessed with being in Garry’s presence, his best friend’s wife who is determined to seduce him, his manager, his producer, his secretary, his estranged ex-wife, and an impending midlife crisis as his 40th birthday looms ever closer.

“Present Laughter” is directed by Angie Kells (Woodstock), with assistant director Chelsea Boesiger (McHenry), dialect coach Marisa Snook (Woodstock), set design by Eric Luchen (Chicago), lighting design by Deb Holmen (Crystal Lake), costume design by Carol Foreman (Cary), technical direction by Chris Adkins (Woodstock), scenic painting by Holly Adkins (Woodstock), stage management by Mailin Contreras (Woodstock), and producer and artistic director Jay Geller (Kildeer).

The cast includes Joel Bennett of McHenry; Skye Schoen of Johnsburg; Bobby Roberts, Emily Kunash, Paul Lockwood, all of Woodstock; Gianah Tomczak of Crystal Lake; Karen Christensen Peterson of Rolling Meadows; Stephen Pickering of Fox River Grove; Addie Keller of Harvard; and Brian Fleming of Chicago.

“Present Laughter” opens Friday, March 8 and runs March 9-10,15-17, and 22-24. Friday and Saturday performances are at 7 p.m. and Sunday performances are at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $10 for students, MCC employees, seniors, veterans, and MCC alumni, and $15 for the general public. For reservations, please call (815) 455-8746 or email

The Black Box Theatre is located at MCC, 8900 Route 14, Crystal Lake. Park in Lot C and enter Building E. For more about The Black Box Theatre, visit

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