Pleasanton's Civic Arts Stage Company is producing a musical version of "Puss in Boots," that beloved old fairy tale about a cat who lived in a boot.

No, that was an old lady, and she lived in a shoe with too many children.

So "Puss in Boots" is about a cat who wears boots, because ...

Because?

In no warm childhood memories did a happy feline dance through my mind. In fact, I had no idea what the cat was doing with boots in the first place. So I used the best trick I learned in college -- find a synopsis and read it.

Good thing, too, because it turns out the tale, written centuries ago by a French civil servant, is an excellent yarn in which a brainy cat inherited by a poor but honest young man hatches a plan that will allow the plucky young fellow to follow a path that will not only lead him to the beautiful princess the man marries but to the land of happily ever after -- and all because he convinced his new master to buy him boots.

If you are as culturally deprived as I, the only ways you can find out the details are to read the story or go to the play by local playwright Katge Hawley, with music by Chris Houston, another local, which opens Friday in Pleasanton's Amador Theater, 1155 Santa Rita Road.


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The show has a local touch in many ways, from the cast to the fact that the role of the queen was written especially for returning guest actress Paula Wujek, a familiar comic performer to area audiences. The other guest performed in David Moore, who plays dual roles -- the snooty Prime Minister Pratt and the evil wizard Kazaam.

The cast includes more than 70 local actors, "mostly kids aged 6 and up," said director Rebecca Ennals, who is also returning to the Pleasanton company. Others working to stage the play include Katie O'Bryon, company choreographer, set and lighting designer Steve Mannshardt, sound designer Ryan Lee Short, music director Angela Zullinger and costume designer Sophia Thorsen.

"Puss in Boots" will be presented panto style in the Pleasanton production, following the legendary British style of telling familiar (to most people) classic children's stories on stage. The idea is to present the story in a broad comic style that engages children and parents, often for various reasons (a style that has been widely adapted in Disney animated projects for a number of years).

It's a style similar in spirit to the American hiss-the-villain, cheer-the-hero melodramas or the French and Italian farces.

The musical will be performed through Dec. 16 at 7:30 p.m. Fridays, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays. Tickets, at $10 to $18 for adults and $6 to $12 for children and seniors, may be reserved at 925-931-4848 or http://www.firehousearts.org.

"WHO AM I?" show: An introduction to art and galleries for children 5 to 11 is scheduled for 3:30 to 5 p.m. Thursday in Danville's Village Theatre Art Gallery.

Youngsters enrolled will be able to see the latest gallery exhibition, "Who Am I," along with learning about gallery exhibits and how art is made. They will also be able to create their own art project related to the "Who Am I?" exhibit as part of the class.

Registration is required, and the event is subject to cancellation if enrollment is low. To register, call 925-314-3400 or visit http://www.villagetheatreartgallery.com.

Contact Pat Craig at pjcraig495@yahoo.com.