Act II Playhouse in Ambler presents the comedy Red Herring by Philadelphia playwright Michael Hollinger, on stage for four weeks only, Oct. 24-Nov. 19.

Three love stories … plus a murder mystery and nuclear espionage plot. Red Herring is hilarious noir comedy about marriage and other explosive devices.

This production is directed by David Bradley, who helmed such previous Act II hits as Mauritius, According to Goldman, and Unnecessary Farce.

“I’ve known Michael Hollinger for almost 30 years, but have never gotten to direct one of his plays!” Bradley said. “I really love the chance to work on one of Michael’s scripts – he’s got such a great sense of story, combined with a flair for zesty language and the ability to create a distinct world that draws you right in.”

Six talented actors play 18 roles, though the action centers primarily on three couples:

Rachel Camp stars as Maggie, a tough-nosed Boston cop with an Ahab-like quest to catch a con man. Charlie DelMarcelle stars as FBI agent Frank, Maggie’s boyfriend who hopes to snare her into marriage.

Act II Managing Director Eileen Cella stars as Lynn, a plucky Wisconsin girl who happens to be the daughter of Sen. Joe McCarthy. Both she and her fiancé James (Patrick Romano) are holding secrets that could unravel their engagement.

David Ingram stars as Andrei, a Russian fisherman and spy, while Hayden Saunier completes the cast as Andrei’s landlord and mistress, Mrs. Kravitz.

Due to a record number of subscribers this season, Red Herring has limited availability for many performances, and audiences are encouraged to purchase tickets early. A full schedule of performances is available online here. (Opening night for press is Friday, Oct. 27 at 8 p.m.)

Tickets for Red Herring at Act II Playhouse are $29-$43. Discounts are available for subscribers, students, group of 10 or more, and seniors 65 and older. Tickets are available online at, by calling the Act II box office at (215) 654-0200, or in person at 56 E. Butler Ave. in Ambler.

Hollinger has four professional productions in the Philadelphia area’s regional theatres this season: Red Herring at Act II, TouchTones at the Arden, Hope and Gravity at 1812 Productions, and Sing the Body Electric at Theatre Exile.

“When you’re watching a play by Michael, you know you’re in the hands of a great storyteller who’s going to take you along in a way that’s assured, lively, and unexpected,” director David Bradley said.

When Red Herring premiered at the Arden Theatre Company in 2000, Act II Playhouse Artistic Director Tony Braithwaite played James.

Red Herring is set in 1952, a period bursting with both post-war confidence and political paranoia. National fear was further stoked by the McCarthy hearings and America’s growing standoff with the Soviets.

“In the midst of that you have these three couples, at different stages of their lives, trying to get together,” Bradley said. “What’s trust? What can you count on? When the world order you thought you knew is up for grabs, who and what do you hold on to? I think those questions are again very much front and center now, in our very heightened and uncertain times.”

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