A California billionaire has bequeathed all of his assets to his only daughter, Constance – except the $22 million yacht he wanted Josephine to have, a $25 million art collection left to Renee, and some priceless antique automobiles willed to Marjorie. Constance arrives at her father’s mansion with her lawyer, determined to find out who these women are and to buy them off or contest the will.
The butler seems to hold the key, and she learns from him that the three sultry ladies were her father’s lovers. She also discovers that the yacht, the art, and the cars have vanished, all having been sold to The Bimbo Corporation. Could the butler be behind the shenanigans – and is he carrying on with all of the ladies in question? Does the elderly, deaf housekeeper really have a pet rat? Can the bumbling detective hired by Constance really be so inept, linguistically as well as professionally? And why has the butler hired an actress to play his wife? Hilarity erupts long before the audience realizes that the temptresses are all being played by the same actress!
This is a madcap addition to the author’s string of inventive American farces.
"Full of laughs and mile-a-minute dialogue. The hilarity builds. Whoever comes to see this play needs to bring lots of Kleenex for the tears of laughter." - The Winchester Press
"Excellent physical comedy. Truly remarkable characters." - Woodland Daily Democrat
"For Parker, farce is serious business. You must see this romp." - The Sacramento Bee
"Who's In Bed with the Butler? is a wild ride. This play is a hilarious success, talented actors who are able to engage the audience with their clever dialogue. Even if you aren't sure you are a fan of farce, give this one a chance." - The Santa Barbara Independent
"It's just mad-capped hilarity with great performances. This show confuses, delights, and most of all, entertains even the stodgiest stick-in-the-mud." - The Valley Chronicle
"Innuendoes, one-liners and jokes abound. The first performance was well attended, but the following day the phones were ringing off the hook with people calling to buy tickets." - The Daily Democrat
"Superb delivery of the delicately balanced comedy. The laughs Thursday were loud and often. Lots of movement added to the fun and humor, the action and the laughs are non-stop." - The Flint Journal
"You'll find your head agreeably spinning with all the comings and goings. Sometime during Act II, an older woman in the audience seated near this reviewer found it necessary to ask her companion, 'So, there's still a naked lady in the closet, right?'" - The News Guard
- Mild Adult Themes
- Minimum Fee: $90 per performance
- Time Period: Contemporary, Present Day
- Duration: 120 minutes (2 hours)
- Setting: The action of the play takes place in the wine tasting room of the late Mr. William Olden's mansion, located in the wine country of Norther California.
- Additional Features: Physical Comedy
- Features / Contains: Contemporary Costumes / Street Clothes
- Musical Style: N/A (Not a musical)
- Vocal Demands: N/A (Not a musical)
- Chorus Size: N/A (Not a musical)
CLIFTON - 40-60; suave; clever; a likeable rogue. The late Mr. William Olden's butler, and the pivotal character of the play, is a very complex personality. He is not intended to be "pigeonholed" by the audience, who should always be left wondering what facet of his character will be revealed next. He starts out as the loyal servant and appears to be "Mr. Nice Guy," then, as the plot progresses, we see him in turn as the schemer, the scoundrel, the opportunistic embezzler and then, either the naive lover, or the romantic playboy. (Maybe both!) He is nevertheless an endearing personality with a quick, dry wit and a great sense of humor. Audiences take great delight in seeing him finally "tamed" by Susie Legere at the very end of the play.
SUSIE LEGERE - 30-45; bright; perky; quick-witted; resourceful. The actress hired by Clifton to pretend to be his wife in order to protect him from the amorous advances of Renee LaFleur. She throws herself into the role with enthusiasm but quickly discovers all is not what it seems to be. A very determined lady with definite ideas on marriage and morality, she nevertheless allies herself with Clifton, even thought she slowly becomes aware of his dubious character. When not leaping on and off furniture to avoird "Oscar" she is at the heart of many of the visual comedic sequences. In the latter stages of the play it is Susie who seizes control and brings order out of chaos.
CONSTANCE OLDEN - 40-50; severe; dowdy; businesslike; ultimately kind and tender. Mr. Olden's only child, she has been persuaded by her attorney to contest her father's will. She is somewhat dour and taciturn and would appear to be "all business." As the total incompetence of her attorney Roy Vance and his sidekick William Davis Jr. becomes apparent, we see a softer side of her culminating in a hilarious surprise move in her final scene.
ROY VANCE - Scheming; untrustworthy; greedy; malicious. Miss Constance's attorney is a "thoroughly nasty piece of work." For him, the law is all about making money and not at all about justice. His frustrations mount as he comes to realize he is up against masterful planners in Clifton and his co-conspiritors. Becoming ever more desperate to locate the missing assets of the estate, he seems to lose his sense of reality and becomes rather a tragic figure as he, in turn, makes his final exit.
WILLIAM DAVIS JR. - Sympathetic; funny; extreme; a natural clown. The private detective hired by Roy Vance to investigate the disappearance of certain assets from the estate of the the late Mr. Olden. He is one of life's total incompetents who misinterprets every piece of information he receives. He is hit by doors, he is knocked out by a suit of armor, in fact, he is repeatedly rendered unconscious while managing to follow all clues down the totally wrong path. He always leaps (sometimes literally) to the wrong conclusion and, if all this wans't enough, he clearly spent his entire education studying under Mrs. Malaprop! He is a truly comedic character and such an idiot that audiences cannot help but love him.
RENEE LaFLEUR - 35-45; sexy; seductive; determined to the very end. A voluptuous French beauty who spends the entire play in amorous pursuit of Clifton. She will not be denied and uses all her feminine wiles to this end. She comes close to seducing him on several occasions. She will not take no for an answer and continues her passionate quest no matter what the obstacles. It is only as a result of the determined efforts of Susie that she does not succeed.
JOSEPHINE SYKES - 30-45; pretty; sophisticated; well-educated; articulate. The second of the three bimbos, she is very English in manner, bearing and accent. She appears at first to be a little "prim and proper", but softens as we see her in her relationship with Clifton. She shows great strength of character when she does not allow herself to be intimidated by Constance and Vance. We feel she has genuine feelings for Clifton and she portrays a sense of sadness when she is finally obliged to reject him.
MARJORIE MERIVALE - 35-45; beautiful; athletic; outgoing; calculating. The quintessential California girl. She takes her affairs with Mr. Olden and Clifton very much in stride. She has a practical, perhaps materialistic approach to life. As Susie schemes to break up Marjorie's affair with Clifton, we get the feeling that she gives up a little too easily and we are left with the impression that perhaps she was really only in it for the money after all.
- Ensemble cast
- Non-Traditional casting
- Reduced casting (Doubling Possible)
- Strong Role for Leading Man (Star Vehicle)
- Strong Role for Leading Woman (Star Vehicle)
- Parts for Senior Actors
This play can have as many as 6 women or as few as 4 women. It is a wonderful chance for one talented actress to play three different roles, Renee LaFleur, Josephine Sykes, and Marjorie Merivale.