Wendy Braun lays a big kiss on Jordan Reid in a scene from The Fox on the Fairway, debuting at Keizer Homegrown Theatre on Friday, May 4.
KEIZERTIMES/Derek Wiley

By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes

When Linda Baker, founder of Keizer Homegrown Theatre, read The Fox on the Fairway, a farce by Ken Ludwig, she knew just the man to direct it—2005 McNary graduate Kevin Strausbaugh.

“When I was at McNary, I did a bunch of directing classes and she (Baker) always said I had a natural talent for directing,” Strausbaugh said. “She saw this show and how ridiculous and silly and farcical it is and knew that I would bring this show justice.”

Strausbaugh calls Mel Brooks one of his biggest influences.

“I’m a very eccentric person,” Strausbaugh said. “I love this kind of humor. I actually have a few little bits in here that are from Mel Brooks movies. Anyone who is also a Mel Brooks fan, like myself, will get them, but if they don’t, it’s still funny.”

The Fox on the Fairway opens Friday, May 4 at 7 p.m. at Keizer Homegrown Theatre, 980 Chemawa Rd. NE. with additional shows May 5, 11, 12, 18 and 19 at 7 p.m. and May 6, 13 and 20 at 2 p.m.

“It’s just a constant punch line, line after line after line of punch lines,” Strausbaugh said.

The play centers around rival country club presidents, Henry Bingham of Quail Valley Country Club, played by Jeff Minden, and Dickie Bell of Crouching Squirrel Golf and Racquet Club, played by Lyndon Zaitz.

After five years of losing the annual interclub tournament, Bingham places a large bet with Dickie, believing he has a sure thing winner in a new member, only to discover the morning of the tournament that Dickie has stolen the new member.

In danger of losing his shirt, job and wife, Justin, a newly hired assistant who also happens to be a strong golfer, enters the picture with a chance to save Bingham’s bet. Justin, however, is distracted by his new fiancee, Louise, a waitress at the club, and their antics put his golf performance in jeopardy.

“It’s a lot of fun,” Minden said. “It’s hilarious. The show is so much fun to do and everybody’s been so much fun to work with and we’re still laughing two months into rehearsal at all of the jokes. It’s going to be a really funny show.”

Jordan Reid has found it easy getting into the character of Justin.

“I’m a very anxious person by nature,” Reid said. “I just had to delve into my inner crazy. It’s pretty intense and pretty fun. When you get to play a nervous character, you get to stutter a lot, which is something I do naturally.”

Kiley Smith, who did theatre in high school in Stayton, plays Louise. It’s her second Keizer Homegrown show after taking part in Heaven Can Wait last November.

“We have so much fun,” Noel said. “We’re all laughing. There’s a lot of energy in this. We all just have a great time together.”

Wendy Braun and Becky Nielson make up the rest of the cast. Nielson plays Bingham’s wife—Muriel and Braun plays Pamela, a loyal Quail Valley booster.

“I have the best cast I could ask for,” Strausbaugh said. “There’s a lot of bits in the show that the cast created themselves. Every cast member has added their character to the show and that is something every director dreams to have. I honestly think I have the perfect cast.”

Tickets are $15 and available at the door or online at Brown Paper Tickets, www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3336496.

Doors open 30 minutes prior to the start of the play. Seating is limited.