California's State Theatre, the Pasadena Playhouse, announced it's 80th Anniversary, 1997 Winter/Spring Season, opening in January with Ed Schmidt's, Mr. Rickey Calls A Meeting. The season will continue with Equus by Peter Shaffer, followed by the new musical The Emotions starring in Bigger than Bubble Gum, by the musical singing troupe The Emotions, Larry Heimgartner and Chuck Alvarez.
Mr. Rickey Calls a Meeting , directed by Sheldon Epps, runs January 10, through February 23. In 1947, three African-American stars are invited to the hotel room of Brooklyn Dodgers general manager Branch Rickey, to meet with Jackie Robinson, the first young African-American to make the major leagues. The group engages in a grilling discussion of racial issues that still ring true, 50 years after the Pasadena native Jackie Robinson entered the major leagues.
While Peter Shaffer's award-winning comedy Lettice and Lovage will run at the Playhouse in November, his more serious Equus, which won the 1975 Tony Award for Best Play, will run March 14 through April 27. A 1993 Los Angeles production of Equus directed by Jules Aaron at Los Angeles' West Coast Ensemble, won Drama Critics Circle and Drama-Logue Awards. The Pasadena Playhouse revives the 1993 production, which tells the story of a young disturbed stable boy and his relationship to his horses and his psychiatrist.
The 1997 Winter/Spring season closes with The Emotions starring in Bigger Than Bubble Gum. The show will be produced by Dick Scott Entertainment, the same company that produced the Playhouse's 1996 smash hit, Sisterella, which will possibly open on Broadway. The show traces the history of the female singing trio, which were popular in the late seventies and early eighties. A limited run in 1995 at Los Angeles Harbor College garnered critical acclaim from the Los Angeles Times.
The Summer/Fall Season currently continues through August 25 with Camping With Henry and Tom. Subscriptions to the 1997 Winter/Spring Season are available by calling (818) 356-PLAY. --By Blair Glaser