Billy & Ray


Written by Mike Bencivenga

Directed by Michael Matthews

Hollywood 1943.  Hollywood icons, director Billy Wilder and crime novelist Raymond Chandler battled censors and each other, and defied limitations placed upon cinema by the Hollywood Production Code. In doing so, they defined an entirely new genre of movies – film noir. Originally produced by Garry Marshall, award-winning director Michael Matthews helms this behind-the-scenes play the Huffington Post called "A Highly Amusing, Highly Polished Comedy!"

Generously sponsored by
Haskell & White LLP

Billy Wilder
Biography »
Raymond Chandler
Biography »
Helen Hernandez
Biography »
Joe Sistrom
Biography »


Press Coverage

  • Double Play: Wild About Wilder—and Chandler, Too

    What are the actuarial odds? A pair of plays may have theatergoers and film buffs seeing double. Within a week, by sheer coincidence, two different shows about writer/director Billy Wilder have opened on SoCal stages and at the heart of both is the creation of the 1944 film noir classic Double Indemnity, which Wilder helmed and co-wrote with that maestro of mysteries and crime fiction, Raymond Chandler.

  • Pairing of ‘Billy & Ray’ Proves a Hit

    The pulp fiction story by James M. Cain turned into “Double Indemnity,” the 1944 film noir thriller that enraptured audiences with a plot and action that craftily circumvented censorship.

  • It's hate at first sight for 'Billy & Ray'

    One look at “Billy & Ray” and you’ll marvel that the 1944 thriller “Double Indemnity” was even made, let alone that it set trends in the film noir genre and emerged as a landmark in the battle against Hollywood censorship.

    That’s because the movie’s key creators, director Billy Wilder and writer Raymond Chandler, were about as compatible as Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

  • 'Billy & Ray' in Laguna goes behind the scenes of the iconic film 'Double Indemnity'

    The 1943 Academy Award-nominated film “Double Indemnity” made a groundbreaking impact on censorship in the American film industry with its graphic themes of scamming, murder and adultery. But what was happening behind the scenes between the film’s writers is actually a revolutionary – and entertaining – story in itself.

  • Story of Hollywood Legends Billy & Ray Will Return to the West Coast

    Mike Bencivenga’s tale of Billy Wilder and Raymond Chandler will play the Laguna Playhouse.

Upcoming Shows

Sleeping Beauty and Her Winter Knight

Runs December 7 - 30, 2016

Rita Rudner's "9pm is the New Midnight"

Runs One performance only, December 31, 2016 at 7pm