In the weeds, all the way - the play

Black Mountain News

Couldn't catch Jesse Tyler Ferguson's Broadway performance of 40 distinct characters in the play "Fully Committed"? You now have a local alternative with the more-than-able, definitely hilarious Tom Chalmers taking the lead in this tour de force one-man show.

Tom Chalmers gets tied up in phone conversations during "Fully Committed" at BMCA.

Chalmers, who for years performed lead "Santaland Diaries" in Asheville, plays Sam in "Fully Committed" at the Front Porch Theatre at the Black Mountain Center for the Arts on Oct. 21-23 and Oct. 28-30.

"Fully Committed," by Becky Mode, is set in the basement of an upscale, trendy restaurant in New York where Sam, its harried reservations agent and a struggling actor, works three different phones to appease - or disappoint - the multitudes clamoring for a table. Between taking orders from the narcissistic chef, the belligerent maître d’ and self-important customers, Sam fields calls from his family and friends that add to his frustrations (and the depth of the character). The play premiered at the Vineyard Theater in NYC in 1999, long before the days of Open Table and other online conveniences. "Fully Committed," a term some schedulers use as a snub to say you aren't getting a table, is among the 10 most-produced shows in the country.

Chalmers, who plays all the various parts, is well-known around Western North Carolina and is no stranger to the one-man show or to performing multiple characters. For years he portrayed Crumpet the Macys Christmas elf in David Sedaris’ one-man show "Santaland Diaries" at Asheville Community Theatre. He and Mondy Carter starred in the multi-character "Greater Tuna" at the Front Porch Theatre in 2014. Chalmers, who hosts a monthly storytelling series called "Listen to This," teaches acting and improvisation at Warren Wilson College and NYS3 in Asheville.

Chalmers is one of the improvisation group Reasonably Priced Babies along with husband-and-wife team Mondy Carter and Karen Stobbe. Carter is directing "Fully Committed," Stobbe will handle set design and their daughter Grace Carter will be stage managing her 11th show for the Front Porch Theater. Strobbe and Mondy Carter were featured on NPR's "This American Life" and at a TEDMED conference for their work examining the parallels between improvisation and communicating with people with dementia.

The Black Mountain Center for the Arts is at 225 W. State St.

You've been snubbed

What: "Fully Committed"

When: 7:30 p.m. Oct. 21-22, 28-29, 2 p.m. Oct. 23 and 30

Where: The Black Mountain Center for the Arts

Cost: $20

Buy: 669-0930, blackmountainarts.org