Reasons abound to indulge in Lab Theater’s rendition of Terry Johnson’s ‘Graduate’ (03-13-14)

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The Laboratory Theater of Florida is tackling Terry Johnson’s The Graduate beginning March 21. That’s a tall order, given the iconic performances in the movie by Anne Bancroft and Dustin Hoffman.

In case you’ve forgotten, the plot is fairly straightforward. Benjamin Braddock is a bright but reticent young man who returns from an Eastern college to his parent’s swanky home in Beverly Hills with a brand, spanking new baccalaureate degree. In short order, he gets seduced by the restless wife of his father’s law partner, and then compounds their indiscretion by falling in love with Mrs. Robinson’s daughter, Elaine. So how does young Ben extricate himself from such a knotty dilemma? Well, if you don’t remember, then go see the play.

Even if you do remember the denouement, there’s much about this production to entice and enrapture. The crackling dialogue and satirical social commentary aside, how will Jonathan Best’s portrayal compare to Dustin Hoffman’s stolid, deadpan rendition of the bewildered, silver-spooned Ben Braddock? And will Sandy Porter’s Mrs. Robinson be a sullen, contemptuous cougar or something entirely new? Making comparisons to the movie or even the Broadway production may seem unfair, but all’s fair in love and war, which director Lois Kuehne surely knows.

Kuehne has been a director, scene designer, lighting designer and costumer for many years. She ran a successful community theatre on the east coast and has enjoyed her transition to Southwest Florida. She has directed musicals, comedies, mysteries and dramas, and her credits include Singin’ in the Rain, Harvey, In the Next Room or the Vibrator Play, Clue, the Musicial, Steel Magnolias, My Fair Lady and The Lower Room.

The Laboratory Theater of Florida is located at 1634 Woodford Ave. Fort Myers, 33901. The Laboratory Theater of Florida is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that is dedicated to the promotion of the performing arts through live performance, education, community outreach, experimentation and the development of ensemble work. The company features ensemble productions, produces classic works, takes artistic risks and features and challenges local performers of various skill levels. For more information, please visit or telephone 239-218-0481, and stay up to date with its news and events on Facebook and Twitter @LabTheaterFL.

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