In 1903 Elizabeth Magie created a board game that was destined to become a family favorite and endure a number of reinventions, starting as The Landlord's Game and later being called by its current iteration, Monopoly. Today Parker Brothers/Hasbro lays claim to the property, after years of patent infringement law suits, along the way giving credit to an unemployed Philadelphia man named Charles Darrow who sold the rights to Parker Brothers, his original idea printed on the back of a tablecloth in 1935.
If you were searching in recent years for a man to be named Mr. Monopoly, the honor might be given to Larry Garfinkel, the dubious cut throat "hero" of Jerry Sterner's 1986 play "Other People's Money" currently on display at Long Wharf Theatre's main stage until Sunday, December 18. Jordan Lage's Garfinkel loves power, money and donuts, in that order, and he is willing and able to bend all the rules so he wins in his expansive business game.
What Larry wants, Larry gets and right now he has set his greedy sights on New England Wire and Cable Company of Rhode Island. He specializes in corporate takeovers, earning the title "Larry the Liquidator," a Wall Street financial wizard who has no regard for the companies, communities and people he steamrolls over in the process.
Opposing his ruthless tactics are the president of the company, Edward James Hyland's Jorgensen, and his faithful assistant Bea, loyal to a fault, Karen Ziemba. Caught in the middle of the fray is Steve Routman's Coles, who has been patiently waiting to step into the president's shoes as soon as the spot is vacated, two years down the road. He is cautiously protecting his own future, carefully playing both sides of the board with his top hat, thimble or shoe metal tokens firmly in hand.
To fight off Garfinkel and his unorthodox and unkosher tactics, Bea implores her high powered New York attorney daughter Kate, an equally ambitious, win-at-all-costs Liv Rooth to join their defense. Million dollar offers for shares of stock are tossed around like Dunkin Donuts as the two sides jockey for control of the lucrative Monopoly board as Boardwalk and Park Avenue are up for grabs. Marc Bruni directs this cat and mouse game where the stakes are high and only one can be declared winner of the day.
For tickets ($34.50-89.50), call Long Wharf Theatre, 222 Sargent Drive, New Haven at 203-787-4282 or online atwww.longwharf.com. Performances are Tuesday at 7 p.m, Wednesday at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., Thursday at 8 p.m, Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m.
When the factory whistle blows at the start and end of the work day, friendship. loyalty, tradition and dollars are all on the line and you stand to lose much more than $200 by failing to pass GO.