You never know who your friends really are.
That's the premise of Friendly Acquaintances, the world premiere play by Jack Betts, taking its first bows at Los Angeles' Met Theatre Oct. 13-Nov. 19. Betts also directs.
The Friendly Acquaintances of the title are eight people who find their friendships threatened as two of their party are arrested for a 10 year-old murder on the night they are receiving the community's Humanitarian Award. The six innocents are left to wonder if their so called friends are not guilty or, if they are, if it's right to capitalize on the fame that comes from the crime.
Betts is also the author of 1-800-SAVE-ME, Screen Test-Take One! and was the founder of the Playwrights Group at the Lee Strasberg Institute. As an actor, he appeared on Broadway in Richard III with Jose Ferrer, The Firstborn, Sweet Bird of Youth, Wally's Cafe and Dracula and played in 17 Spaghetti Westerns under the name Hunt Powers.
Ashley Brooks and Alice Hirson (Lois on "Ellen") will share the lead role of Betty Pauley. Robert Pine ("Chips," "Independence Day") plays her husband Mike. The Hollister family, Margaret, Fred and their child David will be played by, respectively, Leigh Rose, Don Moss and Michael Moon and Jack Kyle, sharing the son role. Also in the cast are "Buffy the Vampire Slayer"'s Kaycee Shank (Crystal Hollister), Christopher Callen as Flora Cartwright, Art Cohan as Stanley, Flora's husband, Manuel E. Urrego as Sheriff Hester and James Nall as the motorcycle-riding bad boy, Brad. Tickets are $20. The Met Theatre is located at 1089 North Oxford Street in Hollywood. For resevations, call (323) 960-5600.
-- By Christine Ehren