A Thousand Clowns tells the story of Murray Burns, a recently unemployed writer for a children’s television show, who has been taking care of his delightfully precocious 12-year-old nephew Nick. When Arnold and Sandra from Child Welfare Services get involved in their lives, the antics of Murray and his nephew turn into a roller coaster of side-splitting humor as Murray faces the possibility of having to give up his freedom and return to a job that he loathes.

Michael Milligan, who plays Murray Burns, was last seen this past summer playing Orlando in As You Like It. Micheal Milligan’s Murray is the perfect blend between whimsical jester and tragic clown, reminiscent of Red Skelton. He is truly a joy to watch as he meanders around the stage showcasing his skill in the realm of physical comedy. The chemistry between Milligan and the rest of the cast is phenomenal as the other characters feed his delightful larking about. Also impressive is Brad Bellamy in the role of Leo Herman. Herman acts both as children’s performer “Chuckles the Chipmunk” and as Murray’s ex-employer. Returning for his tenth production at Studio Arena, he flamboyantly portrays the pathetic egotist and offers yet another layer of raucous laughter to pie. Stan Klemenko, a Niagara Falls native and Studio Arena alum, adds another delightful element as child welfare worker Albert Amundson. He rounds out the cast, providing an element of dichotomy to the free spirited Murray Burns. His depiction of the socially repressed bureaucrat is right on the mark and highlights the play’s theme of the desperation that lies in social conformity. Michael Dentico and Christopher Piedmonte, students of the Academy of Theater Arts in Williamsville, share the role of Nick. A Thousand Clowns also stars Christine Marie Brown and Kevin Carolan.

Performances of A Thousand Clowns continue through December 23 and will prove to be a delightful holiday treat for the whole family. Ticket prices range from $31to $52 and can be purchased by phone at (716) 856-5650 or 1 (800) 77STAGE and online at www.studioarena.org. By Kristen Penman

Studio Arena theater’s latest installment adds another hit to its 40th anniversary season line-up. A Thousand Clowns, written by Herb Gardner and directed by Jane Page, was a Broadway hit in 1962, and its film version, starring Jason Robards and Sandy Dennis, earned an Oscarâ in 1965. Studio Arena’s production definitely steps up to the plate with a light-hearted comedy that is sure to make you laugh out loud.