Judi Clements has always enjoyed performing in front of a live audience, regardless of just how that performance might take shape.
“I used to do a lot of drama and singing when I was younger, but people always told me I reminded them of Carol Burnett,” said Clements, a Clifton Park resident who is starring in the Curtain Call Theatre production of “Bermuda Avenue Triangle,” opening Friday night and running through Dec. 22.
“I thought, ‘why don’t I leverage that?’ Hey, you get a bit older, you have to compensate for loss of looks. So I thought, ‘I know, I’ll be funny.’ ”
She gets plenty of opportunity to be funny in the play, written in 1996 by the husband-wife team of actors Joseph Bologna and Renee Taylor. Set in Las Vegas, it centers on two widows, played by Clements (Fanny) and Pat Hoffman (Tess), who meet and fall in love with a con artist played by Jack Fallon (Johnny). Kris Anderson is directing.
“We are involuntarily retired to a Las Vegas condo by our two daughters,” Clements said of the two widows. “It is against our will. We’re all set to pass out from the heat and live a boring life when we meet this charming gigolo of a man who charms his way into our lives; into our beds and our bank accounts.”
Getting the part
Clements auditioned for a Curtain Call production last season but didn’t get the part. When Curtain Call put “Bermuda Avenue Triangle” on its 2013-2014 schedule, founder and artistic director Carol Max contacted Clements and suggested she come down and audition again.
’Bermuda Avenue Triangle’
WHERE: Curtain Call Theatre, 210 Old Loudon Road, Latham
WHEN: Opens at 7:30 p.m. Friday and runs through Dec. 28; show times are 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 3 p.m. Sundays
HOW MUCH: $23
MORE INFO: 877-7529 or www.curtaincalltheatre.com
“Carol told me about her, and she is a natural,” said Anderson. “She was just really good. She has this Carol Burnett quality to her that people really respond to.”
Clements hadn’t been in a full-blown stage production in 22 years when she played the mother in “Brighton Beach Memoirs.”
“I haven’t really missed it that much because I was doing a lot of stand-up comedy and improvisational theater,” said Clements, who did much of her improv work with The Improv Club of Clifton Park.
“I adored the club, but the troupe disbanded and I really couldn’t find another one in my generation. There are a lot of improv clubs made up of 20-somethings, but I couldn’t find one that fit my generation. It was sort of that way with my stand-up. The audiences are younger, and it really wasn’t my kind of comedy. They’re all looking for something that’s so ‘blue.’ ”
Clements grew up in Brooklyn and headed to the University at Albany, where she had a triple major in education, speech and theater. She also got her master’s degree at UAlbany and started out teaching high-school English before deciding to raise a family.
“Once my daughter was born I didn’t want to work full time, so I started my own business in telecommunications and marketing,” she said. “What I am is a professional speaker and trainer. I teach people how to speak in public, and I’ve been doing it for 27 years now.”
“Bermuda Avenue Triangle” was first produced off-Broadway in 1997, and is one of three successful plays created by Bologna and Taylor. The tandem also co-authored “Lovers and Other Strangers” and “Made for Each Other.”
“I took kind of a leap of faith because I didn’t know anything about the play when I auditioned,” said Clements.
“I got a description of a couple of scenes, and then I came in and auditioned. When I got the part I still didn’t know how a big a part it was. Then I got the script in the mail and realized how big the part was. I was shocked, but I really did enjoy it. It made me laugh, and I do enjoy making people laugh. That is pure joy for me.”
Anderson, a regular performer at Curtain Call, is directing his first show there since 2005, when he was in charge of a production of “Birthday Suite.”
“The story is about two women who had miserable lives and were never aware of their self-worth,” he said. “They don’t know how to enjoy themselves, but they finally learn how through this con man. Through him they discover their self-worth.”
Also in the cast are Angela Potrikus, Jill Wanderman and Howie Schaffer. William E. Fritz did the set, and Lily Fossner is the lighting director.
Reach Gazette reporter Bill Buell at 395-3190 or email@example.com