'Money' looks at the pros of cons

Anchorage playwright brings satire about two rip-off artists to Juneau

Posted: Thursday, April 25, 2002

The Girl discovers that aging salesman Walter Sherman has a soft spot for con artists.

Sherman and The Girl are the sole characters in "Money," a new work by Anchorage playwright Dick Reichman. "Money" just wrapped up an extended debut run at Anchorage's Off Center Playhouse, widely known as Cyrano's, and comes to Juneau for two performances, April 27 and 28, at Perseverance Theatre.

The play opens with Sherman, played by Jerry Harper, launching a motivational investment seminar in a rented motel meeting room. The audience also serves as Sherman's seminar audience.

"Sherman is an older guy," Reichman said. "As he talks to us he kind of regrets spending his life ripping off customers, but you never know if he's giving us a sales pitch or coming clean. He's a fast talker and a great salesman."

As the play progresses, The Girl is introduced, played by Laura Rasmuson.

"He runs into this young chick in a bar who tries to rip him off. He likes her," Reichman said. "It's a nonsexual love story between two lonely pitch artists."

Reichman, an actor and director as well as a playwright, is playing Samuel Coleridge in the Perseverance production of "Lost in Kubla Khan." His association with Perseverance Theatre this season led to the opportunity to bring "Money" to Juneau.

Last year Perseverance featured another Anchorage actor, Harper, as Cabot in "Desire Under the Elms." Harper returns to play Investment Guru Retirement Specialist Walter Sherman, C.F.P., N.A.S.E.B., in "Money."

"In Anchorage we went to some expense making the whole theater look like a motel ballroom with all the trappings," Reichman said. He added that the staging at Perseverance will be simple.

Harper is the artistic director of the Eccentric Theatre Company, which includes the Off Center Playhouse. He and Reichman have worked together before, and Reichman said he wrote the play with Harper in mind for the lead.

"I based him somewhat on a friend who once sold me some investments that were lucrative for him and not so lucrative for me," Reichman said.

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