Di Alioto begins Sunset Playhouse tenure with “Lucky Stiff”

The new executive director, formerly at the Skylight, talks her new position and the musical farce she's directing, which opens this weekend.

By - Apr 18th, 2013 09:48 pm
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Di Alioto, Sunset Playhouse’s new executive director, will also direct their newest show: “Lucky Stiff.”

It’s been a busy month for Di Alioto. Last week, the long-time theater professional joined Sunset Playhouse as the new executive director. This week, she directs the company’s latest show, Lucky Stiff, opening this weekend.

It’s a new life chapter she’s excited to start. Alioto has been acting and directing for more than 25 years, with a Bachelor of Arts in theater from Marquette University and an MFA in acting and directing from Binghamton University in New York. Before taking her new job at Sunset, she had been working at the Skylight for the past 13 years, and is also the resident drama director at Cedarburg High School.

That resume suggests Alioto will have no problems juggling the many demands of the role, as does her answer when asked what her greatest challenge is going to be: going home at night. “I’m directing, and after the workday in the office, I can’t wait to get down to the rehearsal hall or into the theatre for rehearsal, then afterwards I’m so energized that I want to get back up to my office to tackle some paperwork. It’s not that I don’t want to get home to my family, but I’m just so pumped. I’m in the honeymoon stage, and I don’t want it to end.”

Lucky 3 Harry Dominique & Stiff

In “Lucky Stiff,” Harry Witherspoon (Zach McLain, L) learns he’s inherited a $6 million fortune, but only if he takes his dead uncle (Matthew Patten) on a weeklong vacation to Monte Carlo. Photo courtesy Sunset Playhouse.

In this first show she’s directing – she is slated to take on two a season; Fox on the Fairway, opening at the end of May, will be her second – Alioto gets to put together one of her favorite types of shows, a farce. Lucky Stiff, the first collaboration by the songwriting team of Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty (more famous for Once on this Island, Seussical and Ragtime), is about Harry Witherspoon, a man who unexpectedly learns that he can inherit $6 million from an uncle he’s never met if he takes the dead man on a weeklong vacation to Monte Carlo. If he decides not to, all the money goes to the Universal Dog Home of Brooklyn – and since Harry hates dogs and likes money, he absolutely cannot let that happen.

Once in Monte Carlo, the farce hits all the usual bases. Love comes and goes, delightful musical numbers are sung, guns are shot – and the dead man in the wheelchair all evening (Matthew Patten, playing the stiff with more emotion than you’d expect) adds a little something extra to the production. “There is a constant on and off of characters playing multiple, hilarious roles, and there are some poignant moments for a nice balance,” Alioto said. “If you’re looking for a zany, fast-paced night of silly musical comedy, with a love story or two, it’s the right show for you.”

Lucky Stiff opens Friday, April 19 and runs through Sunday, May 12. Shows are 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, with a 4 p.m. matinee Saturdays and a 2 p.m. matinee on Sundays. Tickets are $25; call (262) 782-4430 or visit the online box office. Sunset Playhouse is located at 800 Elm Grove Road, Elm Grove, WI.

Categories: Theater

0 thoughts on “Di Alioto begins Sunset Playhouse tenure with “Lucky Stiff””

  1. Anonymous says:

    Just one correction: It’s Matthew Patten, not Michael.

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