Disappearing bodies, peeping toms and a very handy handyman make for lots of laughs in Billy Van Zandt and Jane Milmore's "Wrong Window."
The seldom-performed spoof on Alfred Hitchcock's thrillers is well written, with lots of references to the master's films, plus physical comedy to keep the audience entertained. Nicely directed by Jill Gelster and Mya Guitron, the Orinda Starlight Village Players' production runs through Aug. 23 at the Orinda Community Center Park Amphitheater, 28 Orinda Way in Orinda.
The convoluted plot involves a New York couple who enjoy checking out their neighbors activities via binoculars. While peeking out the window one night, they catch a husband and wife in an adjacent apartment having a violent fight. The next morning, the wife turns up missing, and the couple goes on a mission to discover what happened. As the plot thickens, other neighbors as well as the police become involved. The creative set adds to the fun as it features one apartment in the front of the stage and another apartment in the back of the stage glimpsed through a large picture window. The actors cleverly move furniture to switch the apartments around, adding to the confusion and fun.
While the Starlight production would benefit by a quicker pacing, it's still lots of fun. If you go, bring warm clothing and try and sit in the middle of the amphitheater for the best view into both apartments. Shows are at 8:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays through Aug. 23 with a Sunday 4 p.m. performance on Aug. 17 and a Thursday show at 8 p.m. on Aug. 21. Call 925-528-9225.
Terrence McNally couldn't have written a more sympathetic criminal than Frank
Abagnale, Jr. in "Catch Me If You Can." Based on a true story, Abagnale, Jr. is the product of a broken home and a father with questionable parenting skills, Leaving home in his mid-teens, he poses as a Pan Am pilot, doctor and more, and manages to pass millions in bad checks all by his 19th birthday. But, he's such a sweet kid, that you can't help but hope he can outrun the FBI agents on his trail.
Made into a movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks, the story is now a delightful musical premiering in the Bay Area at Woodminster Ampitheater, 3300 Joaquin Miller Road in Oakland.
Directed by Joel Schlader with music direction by Ben Prince, knockout choreography by Christina Lazo and an amazing number of period perfect costumes by Lisa Danz, this production features a solid cast led by Nikita Burshteyn as Abagnale, Jr. (Contra Costa audiences may remember him as Benny Southstreet in Diablo Theatre Company's "Guys and Dolls.") Burshteyn certainly has the acting, singing and dancing chops to make this demanding role his own. While the entire cast does a great job, special kudos go to the talented dancers and to Taylor Chalker, who as Abagnale, Jr.'s love interest brings the house down with her gospel inspired "Fly, Fly Away."
"Catch Me If You Can" continues Aug. 14-17 at 8 p.m. Go early and enjoy a picnic and gorgeous view of Oakland and (on a clear night) San Francisco. Call 510-531-9597 or go to www.woodminster.com for tickets.
Help out the Clayton Theatre Company and enjoy a good meal at the same time. On Aug. 19 from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m., Ed's Mudville Grill in Clayton will donate 20 percent of its pretax receipts to the company. To get a flier, which needs to be presented when dining, go to www.claytontheatrecompany.com.
Several auditions are on the horizon for those of you who prefer to be on the stage rather than in front of it. Alameda's Altarena Playhouse holds auditions for "Little Shop of Horrors" on Aug. 24 and 25 beginning at 7 p.m. Fred Chacon directs the show which plays Oct. 10-Nov. 23. Performers should prepare a legato Broadway or rock song and be prepared to do a dance combination and a cold read from the script. Pianist provided. For more information, go to www.altarena.org.
Contra Costa Civic Theatre will audition for "To Kill a Mockingbird" on Sept. 7 from 1 to 5 p.m. and on Sept. 8 from 6 to 9 p.m. Directed by David Bogdonoff, the show runs Nov. 21-Dec. 14 at the company's El Cerrito Theater.
CCCT will also audition for "Doubt: a Parable" on Sept. 28 from 7 to 9 p.m. and Sept. 29 from 7 to 10 p.m., with Daren A.C. Carollo directing. The show runs Feb. 13-March 8.
Contact Sally Hogarty at email@example.com