The cast of  Women in Jeopardy!  at MRT, including (L-R) Jessica Wortham, Gail Rastorfer   and Julia Brothers, will warm up winter with this zany comedy,
The cast of Women in Jeopardy! at MRT, including (L-R) Jessica Wortham, Gail Rastorfer and Julia Brothers, will warm up winter with this zany comedy, playing February 15-March 12. (Photo by Meghan Moore)

A laugh or two helps you get by. And Merrimack Repertory Theatre promises lots of laughs with its new production of Wendy MacLeod's "Women in Jeopardy!," running Feb. 15 through March 12 in Lowell.

The laugh-a-minute comedy follows the escapades of Mary and Jo, two middle-aged women who jump to the rescue with off-the-wall antics when their gal pal, Liz, falls for a creepy -- and possibly murderous -- dentist.

"It's a straight-up comedy with some farcical moments," said director Sean Daniels, MRT's artistic director.

"I'm having fun revisiting it with a new cast," added Daniels, who directed the 2014 world premiere at the GEVA in Rochester, N.Y., and remounted it in 2015 at the Cape Playhouse. "We're having lots of side-splitting laughs while we rehearse."

MacLeod wrote this play for women of a certain age, he said.

"Wendy saw tons of funny women over the age of 25 at auditions and realized they never got to be in shows together. She wrote this play for them, and how often do you see three women over the age of 25 holding a play together?" he said.

Julia Brothers, one of two cast members from the original productions, revisits her role as Jo in her MRT debut.

"It's a fun play to do," she said. "The audiences laugh so much and so hard, and it is such a joy to bring something to people that really makes them laugh."

Brothers, who recently appeared with Marlo Thomas in a world premiere directed by Elaine May, has been with "Women in Jeopardy!" from its start at GEVA.


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"We did a workshop reading with the scripts on music stands and people were laughing hysterically even without any staging," she said. "My character, Jo, has this wry, super-dry sense of humor, and when she says something, it's always a zinger."

Brothers loves working with Daniels.

"Sean is a great director and he knows 'funny' really well. He knows it when he sees it, and he knows how to get it off the page," she said.

Daniels returns the compliment.

"Julia is amazing, and so is the rest of the cast," he said.

Brothers, agreeing, said, "After only a few rehearsals, I knew this cast was crazy good. We're having such fun with this show."

So will audiences, promises Daniels.

"It's cold outside, but we'll warm you up with tons of laughs when you come to see 'Women in Jeopardy!' and watch these funny women chew up the stage," he said.

Tickets are $26-$70 at www.mrt.org or call 978-654-4678.

On the marquee

STRINGING ALONG: Treat your Valentine to a night filled with heartfelt music this weekend. The Lexington Symphony invites you to fall in love with "Czechs & Diamonds," its midwinter concert, Saturday, Feb. 11, at 8 p.m., at Cary Hall, 1605 Massachusetts Ave., Lexington. Music director Jonathan McPhee conducts the orchestra that features the string section playing David Diamonds' "Round for Strings" and Dvorak's "Serenade for Strings." Tickets $15-$50 at 781-523-9009 or www.lexingtonsymphony.org.

JAZZY GOOD TIME: Chelmsford Center for the Arts, 1A North Road, brings the jazz and pop sounds of the Gwenn Vivian Approach group to audiences Saturday, Feb. 11, at 8:30 p.m. Tickets $20 at www.chelmsfordarts.org or call 978-250-3780.

SUMMER SEASON: Reagle Music Theatre of Greater Boston opens its 49th annual summer season with the family-friendly musical "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat," playing June 8-18 at the Robinson Theatre, 617 Lexington St., Waltham. Other productions include the Jerome Kern-Oscar Hammerstein classic "Show Boat," July 6-16, and the ultimate show-biz salute to Broadway musical "42nd Street," Aug. 3-13. Subscriptions available now at 781-891-5600. Single tickets go on sale March 1.

Nancye Tuttle's email address is nancyedt@verizon.net.