Arts & Culture

'The Foursome' opens at Manatee Performing Arts Center

You might not know who Norm Foster is. But that's only because you're not a Canadian theater-goer.

Foster is one of Canada's most prolific playwrights, and several sources say he's the most often produced playwright in the country's history. He writes funny, accessible plays that look at everyday people in everyday situations. His style, along with his popularity, leads him to be compared to Neil Simon.

One of Foster's best-known plays is next up from the Manatee Players. "The Foursome" opens today in the Bradenton Kiwanis Studio Theater at the Manatee Performing Arts Center.

Foster's 1998 script, which was made into a movie starring Kevin Dillon in 2006, is about four friends playing golf the day after their 20th college reunion.

Director James Thaggard, who works most often with the Island Players, said he had a hard time casting the show. He needed four good actors in their early 40s and he couldn't find them. He ended up adjusting the script so that it was about a 15th reunion, and he used younger actors.

He said he's happy with this foursome of actors, which includes Carl MacMichael and Tal Reeve, who are two of his favorite local actors.

"Carl and Tal are my go-to leads at Island Players," he said.

Details: Jan. 15-Feb. 1, Bradenton Kiwanis Studio Theater at the Manatee Performing Arts Center, 502 Third Ave, W., Bradenton. Show times: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday-Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets: $26. Information: 941-748-5875,

-- Marty Clear