Ken Ludwig's a sophisticated guy. The playwright is responsible for some of the more glamorous Broadway productions of the past 20 years or so — the Gershwin-inspired Crazy for You, for which he wrote the book, scooped up pretty much every award out there — and he's known for keeping madcap classy. He's a Shakespeare fan as well, and in this 2004 romp he riffs on the template for the "mistaken identity" crisis, Twelfth Night. Two down-on-their luck Shakespearean actors (the funny David Engel and John J. Joseph) dress in drag as a dying woman's long-lost nieces in order to score her $3 million fortune. Of course, things get sticky when one falls for the pretty, betrothed girl of the house, and her suspicious fiancé sets about unearthing their real identities (are the writers of Wedding Crashers Ludwig fans?). The "man falling for a girl while undercover in drag" plotline is nothing new (see: Dustin Hoffman, Tootsie), and setting the play in the 1950s gives it an unappealing staleness. But the writing is crisp, and director Richard Israel's cast maintain a nice skip in their steps. International City Theatre at Long Beach Performing Arts Center, 300 E. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; through July 1. (562) 436-4610, ictlongbeach.org.
Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Starts: June 8. Continues through July 1, 2012
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