I only caught one play for “review” on the weekend. So late on starting my holiday chores …

I haven’t even written a single card yet! I need to buckle down and get started!

Mom’s Gift – A World Premiere Dramedy.

From l, Gina Yates, Julia Silverman, and Cyrus Alexander in “Mom’s Gift.”

From l, Gina Yates, Julia Silverman, and Cyrus Alexander in “Mom’s Gift.”

Written by Phil Olson from the depths of his heart, after the passing of his Mother in 2006, this is a humorously poignant and thought-provoking story. A successful playwright, his Minnesota series of “Don’t Hug Me” musicals have successfully run all over the country. His 13 published plays have enjoyed over 300 productions around the USA, Canada, and Australia. In fact, Don’t Hug Me, We’re Married will open in 2014 (the fifth in the series). I will definitely be there, front and center, when it does! This one, Mom’s Gift, Directed by Sherry Netherland with heartfelt passion, while hilarious in parts, touchingly focuses on the interactions of a family, following the death of the Mother. Here, “Mom” having passed away 11 months ago, is still an earthbound ghost, who must accomplish a family mission to earn her wings, and move on to heaven. Invisible to the others, (except for her daughter, Kat) she turns up on her husband’s birthday, to settle issues among the family. Julia Silverman as Mom, gives a heart-wrenchingly spirited performance, and Gina Yates as her conflicted older daughter Kat, sizzles with emotion. Chris Winfield is endearingly impressive as the Dad, and Trisha Hershberger is quirky fun as the younger daughter Brittney … “a Hooters girl” who turns out to be smarter than she seems. Lisa Mcgee-Mann is lovably solid as the family caretaker, and Cyrus Alexander is perfectly cast as the attractive young neighbor who harbors a longtime crush on the difficult Kat. This story is a heartfelt cross between family dynamics, the loss of a loved one, and the power of love. Touching and hysterical in turns … “just like in real life,” and undeniably reminiscent of the journey Clarence took in It’s a Wonderful Life, the outcome is heartwarming and the story is compelling. Technically mood setting too: Kudos to Steve Shaw (Assistant Director and sound), Chris Winfield (attractive and homey set design), Sabrina Beattie (lighting), and Lynda Pyka (costumes). An enjoyable and heartfelt story, suitable for the entire family. Do try to catch this one this holiday season! Running through Jan. 19 at The Lonny Chapman Theatre located at 10900 Burbank Blvd. in North Hollywood. For tickets call (818) 763-5990 or visit thegrouprep.com. “Talkbacks” with the cast afterwards on Dec. 8 and Dec. 15.

Well, that’s my story for this time. Short but sweet … Back next week with more “Pat Chat.” When Christmas shopping this season … Don’t forget to stop in at all of the unique vintage and eclectic Magnolia Park vintage and collectible shops! Starting with mine of course… “Hubba Hubba!” (shameless plug) You’ll find unique and “one of a kind” memorable treasures in all of them… for your eclectic and “one of a kind” friends!


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