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‘Leading Ladies’ a cross-dressing comedic caper

Tom Hudgens and James Kitzmiller star in “Leading Ladies.”

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Ken Ludwig’s “Leading Ladies” pairs screwball comedy with farce in an homage to “Some Like It Hot.”

The play will open on Friday, Jan. 17, at the Adobe Theater. Performances run on weekends through Feb. 9.

Two Shakespearean actors appear in the Amish country of York, Pennsylvania, mounting The Bard’s plays on the Moose Lodge circuit in 1958. They learn through a newspaper that Florence, an ailing elderly woman, has been unable to locate Max and Steve, her nieces. The siblings moved to England as children and Florence wants to include them in her multimillion dollar inheritance.

The actors decide to pose as Max and Steve to infiltrate the family and land the cash.

“They’re try to imitate the two nephews,” director Lewis Hauser said. “Then they find out it’s not nephews; it’s nieces. So here comes the cross-dressing.”

At first, Florence believes the actors because she has never met her nieces.

“The whole thing falls apart when they receive word the real nieces are on the way,” Hauser said.

To complicate matters further, Leo falls for Florence’s real niece Meg, while Jack swoons over Florence’s part-time aide Audrey.

Florence recovers, but the swindlers decide to carry on, determined to outlast both her health and to chase their objects of interest.

“Leading Ladies” marks the third Ludwig show Hauser has directed at the Adobe, including “Moon Over Buffalo” and 2019’s “Shakespeare in Hollywood.”

“Leading Ladies” premiered at The Alley Theatre in Houston in 2004.

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