Currently playing through Dec. 22 at Boca Raton's Caldwell Theatre Company, is the season opener, Everybody Loves Opal, by John Patrick. But the question that Caldwell is asking their audiences is -- does anybody love Mr. Tanner-- enough to adopt him?
Opal, a comedy about petty crooks who take advantage of a lonely misfit by moving in and then trying repeatedly to kill her to get the life insurance policy they've taken out on her life, also features a live cat named Mr. Tanner. For 15 minutes throughout the show, Tanner plays Opal's best friend, exemplifying the love this kooky, bedraggled woman has for all living things.
A Caldwell press release describes Mr. Tanner as a homeless, 1 1/2-year-old orange tabby cat who has had all his shots, is litter trained and has not been declawed or fixed. In order to find the 'a-cat-or' a home, Caldwell proposes that "You can provide Mr. Tanner with a new home just by writing to the star [Carol Provonsha] and telling her something about yourself and why you want to spend the rest of your life with her feline co-star." The press agent for the Caldwell confirms that the cat is very docile, as Provonsha is able to pick him up throw him around at the right moments in the play.
The most qualified cat owner will receive a house call from Provonsha on Christmas morning, bearing Mr. Tanner and a spread of tea and cookies. Provonsha, a regional actress whose one-woman show Too Big To Be a Waitress ran at Boca's Royal Palm Dinner Theatre, is getting so many letters that she hopes to contact a Floridian woman who houses stray animals and see if she will come forth with 20 more cats, all to be delivered by Provonsha on Christmas morning.
Mr. Tanner was found about a week before the show opened, by a propmaster for the Caldwell, nicknamed "Dino." Dino came across the cat while working at the Royal Palm, a dinner theatre whose staff fed leftovers to the stray. If you're interested after checking out the show, address your letter to "Opal"/Caldwell Theatre Company/ P.O. Box 277/ Boca Raton, FL. 33429 For more information about the production, refer to the Caldwell Theatre regional listing on Playbill On-Line.
--By Blair Glaser