“He’s so funny,” the character Sue says of Drew Peterson in the play Waiting For Drew Peterson.
“Remember when he was in cuffs outside the courthouse and he said, ‘Look at this bling. Look at this spiffy outfit.’”
Of course, that wasn’t funny at all. Peterson looked like a mental patient as he screamed his jokes at the TV cameras on his way in to be arraigned on charges he murdered his third wife, Kathleen Savio.
No, there was nothing funny about it. But Waiting For Drew Peterson, on the other hand, is hilarious.
Penned by the play’s co-stars, Nancy Friedrich and Amy Speckien, and director Scott Goldstein — who happened to appear on Jeopardy! earlier this week — Waiting For Drew Peterson is a masterful take on the absurdity of the sideshow that manifested itself within days of the disappearance of Peterson’s fourth wife, Stacy Peterson.
Speckien and Friedrich play twin sisters, Sue and Pam, who have shut themselves off from the world as they bide their time in the home of their deceased parents, who perished of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Just as the title suggests, Pam and Sue spend their days and nights pining for Drew, recording podcasts devoted to proclaiming his innocence, writing him love letters, focusing on positive reinforcement through meditation, and maintaining their Drew Peterson Facebook page, among other things, as they await his release from jail so one of them can become his fifth bride.
Both sisters want to be the next Mrs. Peterson — Sue so she can ride his coattails to fame, Pam because he reminds her of their father.
It’s a tenuous existence, with both sisters wanting the same man and tensions mount as they anticipate Peterson’s release.
The play, which was warmly received by last week's audience, was conceived by Friedrich, who then set to work writing it with Speckien and Goldstein.
“A few years ago, when you could not escape Drew Peterson coverage, I was at the gym on a treadmill and listening to The Pixies’ "Where Is My Mind" and there was a TV at the gym and they had another story about Drew on and I just sort of got the idea there while I was running,” Friedrich said.
“I had wanted to work with Amy for a while; we both have one foot in the improv world and one foot in the theater world so I just sort of got the idea from that, sisters in love with a man like Drew Peterson.”
Waiting For Drew Peterson is performed Thursdays at 8 p.m. on the stage of Chicago’s Annoyance Theatre & Bar, 4830 N. Broadway.
The show only runs through July 7, so make sure you catch it tonight or in the following two weeks, as you will regret missing it.
Speckien is going miss acting in it.
“I do like performing it,” she said. “The podcasts can get kind of uncomfortable because that’s when we basically read, word for word, what Drew Peterson is accused of and sometimes I feel bad recounting the horrible facts while wearing a funny costume.
“We know we need to do it though. For one thing, the podcasts pay homage to the people who were actually hurt here. We’re acknowledging that we, the actors, understand the weight of the situation. The podcasts are hard for me to do, though, because they’re a weird mix of funny and sad.”
Goldstein researched the case to write the podcast segments and spun the story told and retold in the news into high comedy at the expense of not only Peterson, but such personalities as Dr. Phil, who the sisters assure the audience is “a genius and in no way an underqualified doofus.”
Speckien said the Drew Peterson of their play “could also be Paris Hilton, or a Jersey Shore cast member — any celebrity who is famous for something other than being good at what they do.”
“I feel like, much thanks to Scott Goldstein, we've put together a, hopefully, funny satirical commentary on fascination with celebrity culture,” Speckien said.
“It's like an Onion article come to life, just dripping with satire but sometimes when people hear that it's about Drew Peterson they're immediately turned off, which is too bad because this play pretty much roasts him and doesn't re-enact anything terrible.”