'Is He Dead?' on stage at Curtain Call's Dressing Room Theatre in Stamford

Photo of Linda Tuccio-Koonz
Rich Masotti and Jean Marie McCormick appear in a scene from Curtain Call, Inc.'s production of
Rich Masotti and Jean Marie McCormick appear in a scene from Curtain Call, Inc.’s production of “Is He Dead?” at The Dressing Room Theater in Stamford, Jan. 11-28.Lou Ursone / Contributed photo

A farce from the father of American wit, Mark Twain, is on stage at Curtain Call’s Dressing Room Theatre. “Is He Dead?” is described as wildly hilarious, and runs Jan. 11-28.

According to a news release, the show tells the tale of a talented young painter, Jean-Francois Millet, who is in love with a woman, Marie Leroux, but in debt to a villainous picture-dealer, Bastien Andre.

The artist runs into trouble when Andre forecloses on him, threatening debtor’s prison unless Leroux marries him. Millet realizes the only way he can pay his debts and keep his love from marrying Andre is to die, “as it is only dead painters who achieve fame and fortune,” the release said.

Millet’s plan is flawed from the start, because once he’s declared dead he can’t collect on his fortune. The romp is on as he pursues his passion for painting, his fortune and Leroux. After staging his death, he must dress as a woman to keep his secret safe.

Written in 1898 and adapted by David Ives, the show will be directed in Stamford by John Atkin. “Is He Dead?” employs elements of burlesque and also raises questions about fame, greed and the value of art.

The theater is a cabaret-style venue with seating at tables. Doors open one hour before show time and patrons are encouraged to bring whatever they like to eat and or drink.

Dressing Room Theatre, 1349 Newfield Ave., Stamford. Jan 11-28. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 8 p.m.; Sunday, 2 p.m. $35, $25 seniors 62 and up, $17.50 up to age 21. Thursday all seats $25. 203-461-6358