Role Players Ensemble transforms Danville's Village Theatre into a 1950s television studio in its production of Rod Serling's "Requiem for a Heavyweight," which runs April 26-May 18.
Director Eric Fraisher Hayes hopes to recreate the excitement of being in a studio audience during a live television broadcast as the seedy underworld of professional boxing unfolds.
The story follows Harlan "Mountain" McClintock, a boxer suffering from dementia pugilistica, more commonly known as being "punch drunk." When a doctor refuses to certify him as OK to continue fighting, McClintock is forced to consider other careers. Meanwhile his manager/mentor has been betting against him and is now in debt to the mafia.
The Role Players production features Bill Dietz, Craig Eychner, Orlando Graves, Katy Hidalgo, Tom Leone, Nolan Mecham, Khary Moye, Charles Woodson Parker, Jerry Motta, Kimberly Ridgeway, Michael Sally, Robert Allen Shattuck, Alex Skinner, James Svatko and David Weiner.
Tickets are $20 to $28 and can be reserved by calling 925-314-3400 or online at www.villagetheatreshows.com.
Lois Grande's charming rendition of Joe Masteroff's "She Loves Me" opened this past weekend at Pacific Coast Repertory Theatre in Pleasanton. The romantic comedy, with music by Jerry Bock and lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, features Pat Brandon's elegant set, Liz Martin's gorgeous period costumes, Chris Guptill's fanciful lighting, and a marvelous six-piece orchestra conducted by music director Pat Parr.
Set in an upscale Parfumerie in Europe in the mid-1930s, "She Loves Me" follows the lives and loves of those working at the shop, especially the two central characters Georg (well done by David Judson) and Amalia (the fabulously voiced Amy Baker), who dislike each other intensely but are both secretly involved in a romantic relationship with someone they only know through letters.
"Being the hopeless romantic that I am, the simple story touched me very deeply, and the magnificent score is so unforgettable, that it has always remained one of my favorite shows," says Grande in the show's program. "We observe two lonely people looking for love — and can't we all relate to that?"
Audiences can also relate to the marvelous cast Grande has put together to present this delightful show especially Baker as Amalia and Kyle Payne, whose stylish movements bring his cad of a character Steven Kodaly deliciously to life. Adding to the comedy are Dan Kapler (Ladislav Sipos), Kenneth Baggott (Mr. Maraczek), Lisa-Marie Newton (Ilona Ritter), and Patrick Wallace (Arpad). Grande also put together a fine ensemble to play a variety of roles and to execute her very creative, fun choreography. In a wonderful bit of inventiveness, Grande changes a waiter to a very sexy waitress (beautifully executed by Lauren Bratton-Kearns) to create a very funny and intricate dance number.
"She Loves Me" continues through April 28 at the Firehouse Arts Center, 4444 Railroad Ave., in Pleasanton. Call 925-931-4848 or go to www.firehousearts.org.
Combining elements of farce, tragedy and philosophy, Max Frisch's "The Arsonists" opened at Berkeley's Aurora Theatre last weekend. Well directed by Mark Jackson, the visually enticing play is a comic parable about the cost of appeasement.
Biedermann (the amazing Dan Hiatt) is manipulated into offering a homeless wrestler (brilliantly performed by Michael Ray Wisely) a room for the night. Fearing the wrestler might be one of the arsonists terrorizing the city, Biedermann and his wife (the lovely Gwen Loeb) end up treating him like an honored guest until his friend, an out-of-work waiter and ex-con (the charmingly scary Tim Kniffin) arrives. The maid (the very expressive Dina Percia) is the only one who sees the situation clearly. Three every-present firefighters (Kevin Clarke, Tristan Cunningham, and Michael Kelly), also known as the "chorus," add to the farcical nature of the piece — although at times, their unison speech becomes rather annoying.
What isn't the least bit annoying is Nina Ball's seemingly simple set that transforms with the help of Stephanie Buchner's lighting, Matt Stines' sound designer, and a well-trained crew into an otherworldly experience.
"The Arsonists" continues through May 12. Call 510-843-4822 or go to www.auroratheatre.org.
Contact Sally Hogarty at email@example.com