Off-Broadway comedy funded by travel industry

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 21, 2014 at 2:54 pm •  Published: January 21, 2014

NEW YORK (AP) — A new off-Broadway comedy about a pair of travel agents and their wacky clientele's demands has an unusual source of funding.

It's underwritten by the very industry it portrays.

"Craving for Travel" is the brainchild of Jim Strong, who owns a $40 million-a-year luxury travel company in Dallas and wrote two self-published books with the same name as the play. Strong's co-sponsors for the show include Viking and Holland America cruise lines, Travel + Leisure magazine and the Four Seasons hotel chain.

The show is open to the public but a number of performances have been bought out by travel-related businesses. A recent preview audience was filled with travel agents and hotel employees who laughed in recognition at the characters' familiar predicaments — like a last-minute request for rooms at a top resort over Christmas, and a stranded traveler's plea for help after booking his own disastrous trip to China online.

Despite the show's travel industry DNA, its writing, direction and acting is all by folks with bona fide theater credentials. Director and co-writer Andy Sandberg's resume includes producing Nora and Delia Ephron's "Love, Loss and What I Wore" and the Tony Award-winning 2009 revival of "Hair." Actors Michele Ragusa and Thom Sesma have Broadway and off-Broadway credits in everything from "Urinetown" to "The Lion King."

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