Who doesn’t love a high comedy with a man in drag?

Theater and film are replete with great comedies featuring cross-dressing characters. Think Tootsie or Charlie’s Aunt or many a Shakespeare play, and of course, Monte Python’s Flying Circus.

In this long tradition of madcap character-in-drag farces, Pentacle Theatre’s summer comedy, Jest a Second!, opens on July 26.

Here’s the setup: Sarah and Bob, expecting their first child, are hosting a birthday party for Sarah’s mother. Simple, right? But Sarah’s brother, Joel, shows up early to tell Sarah what he’s put off telling anybody — he’s gay.

But coming out is not the topper. The bigger challenge is that Joel’s date, Randy, is not the nice Jewish girl doctor Joel led his family to believe, but a nice Jewish boy doctor. And Joel, divorced and in a custody battle over his two sons, has picked this evening to come out of the closet to his parents because he knows his homosexuality will be brought up in court.

Joel and Sarah’s parents, Abe and Miriam, arrive, looking forward to meeting Joel’s new girlfriend. But when the doorbell rings, Joel chickens out and won’t let Randy in. Bob volunteers to talk to “her” outside and moments later reappears dressed in drag, pretending to be Randy. Abe and Miriam instantly like this Randy, and the party is a great success, ending with Sarah going into labor.

And that’s just the first act. Even bigger and funnier surprises are in store during Act 2.

Directed by Valerie Steele.


What: Jest a Second, a rollicking farce by James Sherman.

Directed by: Valerie Steele.

Sponsored by: Rich Ford at Windermere Real Estate.

When: July 26–Aug 17.

Where: Pentacle Theatre, 324 52nd Ave. NW, off Highway 22, about 6 miles west of downtown Salem, Oregon.

Suitability: Jest a Second is suitable for teenage and older audiences who can handle its adult themes.

Tickets: Range in price from $24-29.

  • $29 for opening night includes a catered post-show party.
  • $25 for Friday and Saturday evening performances.
  • $27 for Sunday matinee performances.
  • $24 for Wednesday and Thursday evening performances.
  • Seniors, students and military are eligible for a $1.50 discount per ticket with ID.
  • Oregon Trail cardholders are eligible for a 50 percent discount per ticket.

Where to buy: Advance tickets are available at Pentacle’s downtown Salem ticket office at 145 Liberty St. NE or by calling 503-485-4300 from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on weekdays, or online at tickets.pentacletheatre.org. Tickets are also available at the theater box office 45 minutes before each performance.

Student Rush tickets: Half-price student rush tickets for remaining open seats are available at the theatre box office 15 minutes before each performance with a school ID.

Tickets for low-income persons: In partnership with Salem for All, Pentacle Theatre offers half-price tickets to Oregon Trail Card holders. For information, go to salemforall.org

For more information:  PentacleTheatre.org or call 503-485-4300.

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