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

Billy Wilder

Billy Wilder
California’s Laguna Playhouse is set to stage Mike Bencivenga’s Billy & Ray, the story behind the making of the Oscar-nominated thriller Double Indemnity by Hollywood heavyweights Billy Wilder and Raymond Chandler. The comedy, which played Off-Broadway in 2014, goes behind the scenes of the classic film, chronicling the battle between its two legendary creators.

The show returns to the West Coast following its world premiere at the Falcon Theater in 2013. Directed by Michael Matthews, previews will begin October 5 with an official opening night set for October 9.

“Old Hollywood comes to Laguna Beach in this comedy about the making one of the most iconic films of the 1940s,” says Laguna artistic director Ann E. Wareham in a press statement. “I have been wanting director Michael Matthews to direct at the Playhouse for so long and think this is the perfect show for his unique vision. Our audiences and subscribers are in for a hilarious and wild ride.”

The cast will feature Blake Ellis, Nick Searcy, Scott Lowell and Joanna Strapp. Scenic design is by Stephen Gifford; lighting design is by Luke Moyer; sound design is by Juan Sanson; costume design is by E.B. Brooks; hair consultant is Bobby Chamblee; and stage manager is Vernon Willet.

Tickets range from $35 - $75 and can be purchased online at or by calling (949) 497-2787. The Playhouse is located at 606 Laguna Canyon Road in Laguna Beach.