I went to Glendale Centre Theatre on the weekend for the first time in ages

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It is a charming mid-sized theatre space, offering very affordable “family friendly” live theater, for over 50 years. With much loved actors in the lead roles … they present past “hit” plays, suitable for all ages. Owners, Tim and Brenda Dietlein, are dedicated to presenting relevant theater that “entertains without being shocking.” With five more exciting productions on the roster in 2013 – I do hope you make a point of sharing their vision.

The Man Who Came to Dinner

Photo by Tim Dietlein

The cast of “The Man Who Came to Dinner.” From l, Clement von Franckenstein (Beverly Carlton), Rebecca Balding (Mrs. Stanley), Brenda Dietlein (Maggie Cutler), Kate Landro (Miss Preen), Andrew Prine (Sheridan Whiteside), and Mark Christopher Tracy (Banjo).

An audience-pleasing, frolicking farce, loaded with zany goofball characters … the insanity and laughs run rampant! Penned by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart, and playfully directed by Heather Lowe (as characters darted up and down the audience aisles, and in and out of doors) … this large cast of seventeen actors offer whacky “over the top” performances! It is Christmastime in 1939 at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Stanley (delightfully played by Kyle Kelley and Rebecca Balding). When they invite a noted, eccentric, and overbearing radio lecturer, named Sheridan Whiteside to their home for dinner, he is injured on their doorstep. Confined to a wheelchair, he must begrudgingly stay at their home for a few days to recover, and makes life riotously chaotic for this family. Noted veteran actor, Andrew Prine is despicably hilarious as the pompous, demandingly egocentric “temporary cripple,” Brenda Deitlein is infectiously lovable as his devoted secretary, and Kate Landro is a riot as his intimidated nurse. Alison Robertson is flamboyant fun as his glamorous, self-involved actress friend, and Mark Christopher Tracy nearly steals the show as Banjo! With countless goofy characters … maids, butlers, family members, and “love interests,” alternating “spot-lit” scenes … it is impossible to discuss all actors individually, but each one offered their own memorable moments. I must at least name the rest of the cast for you. Clement Von Franckenstein, Blake Boyd, Amanda Carter, Jeremy Leochner, Hisato Masuyama, and Nick Mizrahi. A delightful comedy of ditzy deceptions and “laugh out loud” situations … as the snooty Sheridan Whiteside’s mere presence turns everyone’s life upside down! Attractive 1930s-esque costumes by Angela Ward … Gorgeous set and lighting by Tim Dietlein, and sound by Paul Reid … do the job nicely in setting the mood! Do try to catch this one, and take the family with you. There is no better gift to children, than to expose them to the joy and magic of “live” theater! Running thru May 11 at Glendale Centre Theatre located at 324 N. Orange St. in Glendale. For tickets call (818) 244-8481. Adult tickets range between $20-25; children 14 and under are $12.

Footnote:

After the play, we cut through the alley, and had a wee cocktail and a late night snack at “JAX.” A long running supper club, always with great “live bands” performing … our bartender/actor Mike, took great care of us … and The Ralph Mathis Band was beyond fabulous! (appearing every other Saturday night)

North Hollywood’s Group Rep Theatre Fundraiser – Sunday, April 14

A lively night of BINGO at “Hamburger Mary’s” located at 8288 Santa Monica Blvd. in West Hollywood. The Bingo “buy in” is $20 and the ten prize baskets are each worth over $75. The fun starts at 6 p.m. – but get there early to get a seat. You can order food and cocktails before or after the session. Great burgers! I’ll be there … sounds like a ball!

Back next week with more entertainment options for your consideration. Get out there and have fun … There’s always something exciting to do in L.A. so turn off the TV and venture out!

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