Can watching two senior citizens playing cards make for entertaining theater? It certainly can if those two seniors are the wonderfully talented John Hetzler and Ann Kendrick.
Currently starring in Diablo Actors' Ensemble's production of "The Gin Game," these consummate professionals do much more than entertain as they portray two lonely people in D.C. Coburn's humorous and poignant look at life in a slightly dilapidated nursing home.
Fonsia (Kendrick) is new to the nursing home and feeling out of place when Weller (Hetzler) invites her to join him in a game of gin rummy. As they find solace in each other's company, they begin to share the intimate details of their lives amid the backdrop of an increasingly competitive game of cards.
DAE really excels in presenting small-cast productions such as "The Gin Game" in their intimate 49-seat theater. Of course, casting the best possible performers is key since the audience is practically on the stage and can easily catch the slightest misstep. And there are certainly no missteps with Hetzler and Kendricks' nuanced performances.
Director Scott Fryer keeps the pace lively and adds variety and interest with song effects of the various choirs and events taking place inside the home while the cards fly fast and furious on the patio.
Hope Birdwell's costumes have a warm, homey feel perfect for the characters while Loren Hoselton's set captures the rundown home nicely.
Singer James Garner turns back time as he and his band honor the legendary "Man in Black."
This Johnny Cash tribute show recreates Cash's greatest hits while including historical accounts and personal anecdotes from his extraordinary life.
Presented by the Willows Theatre Company and Esses Productions, the event takes place in Waterfront Park at the Martinez Marina at 5 p.m. May 12.
Call 925-798-1300 or go to www.willowstheatre.org.
"Enlarge, enliven, enlighten" forms the credo by which the gregarious Lettice Douffet lives.
Raised by her theatrical mother to be anything but ordinary, this force of nature "improves" on history when needed -- a practice not appreciated by her employers of the British mansion where she is a tour guide. But, it is a practice that makes for delightful theater in Peter Shaffer's "Lettice and Lovage" now playing through May 27, at Concord's Cue Productions Live.
Lettice's historical embellishments lead to her firing by the disillusioned personnel manager, Charlotte Schoen, and to the start of an unlikely friendship between the two.
Through the course of the play, Shaffer's witty dialogue takes on history, the nature of truth, the importance of art and beauty, and the sterility of modern life in this intelligently written, poignant tale.
Skillfully directed by Alan Cameron, Deborah Doyle (Lettice) and Maureen-Theresa Williams (Charlotte) create these larger-than-life characters with Doyle a charmingly mischievous Lettice and Williams nicely transforming from the hard-nosed civil servant into a woman of imagination and passion.
Gary Mutz's wonderful comedic timing makes him a hoot as Mr. Bardolph with Nathalie Archangel well cast as Charlotte's timid secretary.
For tickets to "Lettice and Lovage," go to www.b8company.com.
Bay Area Stages presents Lionel Bart's "Oliver" from May 11—27, at the Bay Terrace Theatre, 51 Daniels Ave., Vallejo.
Jeff Lowe's strong cast will bring such colorful Dickens' characters as Oliver, Fagin and the Artful Dodger to life.
For tickets, go to http://olivermusical.eventbrite.com.
Contra Costa Musical Theatre will hold auditions for "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" on May 29 and 31 with callbacks scheduled for June 2.
The show runs Oct. 12—Nov. 10, at the Lesher Center for the Arts.
Directed and choreographed by Jennifer Perry, the show begins rehearsals in mid-August.
For complete audition information and to schedule an appointment, go to www.ccmt.org.
Contact Sally Hogarty at email@example.com.