Come Back, Little Sheba, an American Classic, Resonates at A Noise Within in Pasadena

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From l, Lili Fuller as Marie with Deborah Strang as Lola (background: Paul Culos as Bruce) in “Come Back, Little Sheba.”

From l, Lili Fuller as Marie with Deborah Strang as Lola (background:
Paul Culos as Bruce) in “Come Back, Little Sheba.”

Come Back, Little Sheba has come to a Noise Within (ANW), the celebrated theatre company in Pasadena; the play runs from April 5 through May 17. The acclaimed play by William Inge is the story of a middle-aged couple, Lola and Doc, awash in the what-ifs and drifting apart. Then the vivacious college boarder Marie comes into their lives and unwittingly becomes an explosive catalyst for change.

Directed by ANW co-artistic directors Julia Rodriguez-Elliott and Geoff Elliott, lead actress Deborah Strang (Lola) eloquently describes how she sees the show: “Come Back, Little Sheba is about love, passion, connection, and, ultimately, acceptance. It is about the human condition and how, especially as we grow older, we start to reflect on our lives. We ask ‘Is this the life that we envisioned when we were young?’ Is that disappointing, devastating, or a good thing? These are thoughts for everyone — looking at what your dreams were and weighting those with your life now. It may not be what you wanted or envisioned, but it’s what you have, so accept that and go on from there.”

Why does the fifty-year-old play resonate today? Strang explains, “It’s about real people who deal with loss and yearning. We can see ourselves in Inge’s characters.”

And why is a Noise Within the perfect place to showcase Come Back, Little Sheba? A frequent ANW performer, Strang says, “Because we’re a classical repertory theatre with a stellar residence company of actors. Geoff Elliott is the co-director and plays my husband Doc. We’ve worked together for twenty-two years and we’re fearless with each other. We’re not afraid to go to those intense dark places that happen between Doc and Lola.”

Lili Fuller is also an ANW regular and plays the young Marie. Miles Gaston Villanueva plays Turk; Jill Hill as Mrs. Coffman, John Klopping as the Milkman, Jack Elliott as the Messenger, Paul Culos as Bruce, Mitchell Edmonds as Ed Anderson/Postman, and James Ferrero as Elmo Huston round out the cast.

Post-performance conversations with the artists of Sheba take place on April 13 and 25 and May 16. For information and tickets contact the box office. Phone (626) 356-3100, or go to anoisewithin.org. A Noise Within is at the corner of Foothill Boulevard and Sierra Madre Villa Avenue, 3352 East Foothill Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91107.

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