Jennifer Brown Peabody and her husband Edwin have fond memories of performing on stage.

Twenty years ago, they met at a Diablo Valley College drama class and years later, while watching an Onstage Theatre play, the company's producer and director Helen Means made a very important announcement.

"He proposed to me by having Helen read a letter written by him during a curtain call," Brown Peabody said of her husband's proposal.

Then, in 2005, the Walnut Creek couple got married at the Old SchoolHouse in Pleasant Hill, longtime former home of Onstage Theatre.

Now, the Peabodys are back together on stage, this time for Onstage Theatre's newest production "Spots of a Leopard," a play written by Edwin Peabody's uncle, John Baker, Sr. The show runs through Feb. 10 at Cue Live Productions in downtown Concord.

Described as an "adult romantic comedy" set in the 1970s, the story follows the "rambunctious romantic adventures" of a pair of bachelors. Brown Peabody plays Mona, the beautiful blonde neighbor while her husband plays Robbie, the "ladies' man," she said.

"One day, he may eventually change his spots, but right now, he's not going to," said Brown Peabody of her husband's character.

Peabody, who has performed in a few other local productions with his wife, said he was first given the script back in 1998, shortly after his uncle had written it.

"I found it to be very funny and poignant," Peabody said. "I made an attempt to get it produced locally then, but it didn't work out and I was headed off to Los Angeles for acting school. So I kind of set it aside for about 10 years.


Advertisement

"When Helen asked if I knew of any funny shows to do for this January/February slot, I gave her the script and here we are," Peabody said.

Baker, who has appeared in more than 30 productions as an amateur and professional actor, said the play is loosely based on a summer in his life when he returned home after a whirlwind Hollywood stay.

"I had moved away from home in Scottsdale, AZ to pursue an acting career after being offered an agent in Hollywood," he said. "I had a few parts here and there in movies and television. I came home to get away from the craziness that is Hollywood and stayed with a friend for a summer -- and that is the basis of the play. However, I greatly embellished the story."

Baker, who lives in Orange County and often visits his sister, Peabody's mother in Walnut Creek, hasn't seen the play yet. He plans to watch his nephew's performance this weekend.

"I'm excited to see Eddie and Jen on stage reciting my written words," Baker said. "I don't know anything about the other actors in the play, but I'll be delighted to watch them bring my characters to life. This will be the second time I've seen my words acted out on stage, so I think I'm over those jitters."

In the past year, "Spots of a Leopard," has been performed twice in Turin, Italy -- in Italian, Baker said. Several years ago, an Italian director/actor found his play on the Internet and Baker and the Italian director worked together for about a year translating it into Italian, he said.

Brown Peabody said the play takes a humorous look at romantic relationships.

"It'll be a fun night, so just sit back, relax, laugh and enjoy the show," she said.

Means said "Spots of a Leopard" is unlike any of the shows she's produced and directed during her time at Onstage Theatre.

"I was looking for something that wasn't so serious," Means said. "People need more fun in their lives and these characters are very interesting."

Working on this play has been a real joy, said Peabody.

"It has been lovely to have the opportunity to showcase both my acting and my uncle's writing together--sort of keeping it in the family," Peabody said. "I feel that was the greatest way of telling my uncle how much I respect both his play and his writing ability. And it has been more than a blast to be back on stage with my wife and being directed by the great Helen Means."

'Spots of a Leopard'
WHEN: Through Feb. 10; 7:30 p.m., Jan. 31; 8:15 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; 2:15 p.m. Sundays.
WHERE: Cue Live Productions, 1835 Colfax St., Concord
INFORMATION: $15 general; $12 seniors & students. For tickets, call 925-518-3277