PULLMAN – WSU’s Department of Theatre and Dance presents “Sylvia,” A.R. Gurney’s romantic comedy about marriage and a dog, April 9-12 at 8 p.m. and April 12-13 at 2 p.m. in Daggy Hall’s Wadleigh Theatre. 

“No bones about it,” said director Stan Brown, “‘Sylvia’ is a ‘doggone’ good time.”

Empty-nesters Greg (Alan Peery) and Kate (Dana Bensel) have relocated to Manhattan after 20 years in the suburbs; and their lives are moving in different directions. Greg’s career as a financial trader is winding down just as Kate is blossoming as a public school English teacher.

Looking for a change, Greg leaves work one day and unexpectedly finds new excitement when he meets Sylvia in the park and brings her home.

The flirtatious, street-smart blonde becomes a bone of contention between husband and wife when she offers Greg a distraction from an ever-looming mid-life crisis and becomes a rival, in Kate’s eyes, for his attention.

Sylvia (Katie Sundt), a Labrador-poodle mix whose tag is engraved only with her name, likes to quote literary classics, sing Cole Porter tunes and speak the inner monologues of a dog.

She throws Greg and Kate’s marriage into humorous chaos.

 The situation is further confused by advice from friends, strangers and the couple’s therapists (played by Kevin Takaski and Mickey Geisler), but after a series of funny and touching complications, Greg and Kate learn to compromise, and Sylvia becomes a valued part of their family.

Playwright and novelist Albert Ramsdell Gurney writes about daily life in middle-class America.  He earned his graduate degree in playwriting from the Yale School of Drama, taught humanities and literature at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and is the author of the plays “Love Letters,” “The Cocktail Hour” and “The Dining Room” and the novels “The Snow Ball,” “The Gospel According to Joe” and “Entertaining Strangers.”

The WSU production of “Sylvia” is directed by Brown and Angelle Bruce, with set design by Todd Johannsen, costume design by Starr Peters, lighting design by Kelly Miller, sound design by Brown and Joshua Talty, and stage management by Kristen Nagel.

All general admission tickets are $5 and will be on sale at the Wadleigh Theatre door one hour before curtain time. Graduate and professional students and their partners admitted for free with ID.