Los Angeles' Rubicon Theatre's "Dream Season" 2000-01 already started off like a dream - with a week-long, well-selling extension for N. Richard Nash's tale of a dreaming conman, The Rainmaker. The comedy drama, starring TV's Stephanie Zimbalist as Lizzie, the plain woman awakened by the "rainmaker," played by Carlos Sanz, now ends its run at the Laurel Nov. 12. Performances began Oct. 12 with an opening Oct. 14.
Zimbalist is best remembered for her role as Laura Holt, opposite current James Bond Pierce Brosnan, in "Remington Steele." Zimbalist's theatre credits include Sylvia at Westport, The Threepenny Opera and Summer and Smoke at Williamstown Theatre Festival and The Cherry Orchard at the Long Wharf.
A prominent Latino actor, Sanz recently received accolades as Lt. Portuondo in Two Sisters and a Piano at South Coast Repertory Theatre. Other credits include stints with Arena Stage, the Goodman Theatre, San Diego Rep, Lincoln Center Rep and the Royal Shakespeare Company in London. He spent two seasons on NBC's "Another World," where he played the mysterious Dr. Victor Rodriguez.
In The Rainmaker, conman Starbuck arrives on the H.C. Curry farm, promising that for $100 he can bring rain to the drought-stricken Midwest land. With his spiel, he captures the heart of Curry's daughter Lizzie, who learns to see her own beauty in the eyes of the rainmaker.
Director Jenny Sullivan specifically chose Sanz in her interpretation of the story, which she gives native Central American roots in the casting of a Latino actor. In a released statement, she said, "Although Starbuck is at least part pretender, there is nothing to say he couldn't have a mystical understanding of rainmaking from a pre-Columbian perspective. He could be from Oaxaca and be descended from the ancient Zapotec tribes whose members believed that man had a responsibility to help invoke the magic of the gods to bring rain through celebration and sacrifice." Joining Zimbalist and Sanz in the cast are John Bennett Perry (The Baby Dance) as H.C. Curry, founding artistic director of Rubicon Theatre Company James O'Neil as Noah, Joseph Fuqua (Jim Curry), Jeff Kober (File) and Tony Perry (Sheriff Thomas).
Designing the show are Tom Giamario (sets), Kathi O'Donohue (lighting), Pamela Shaw (costumes) and Judi Lewin (make-up).
Tickets are $35-$20. The Laurel Theatre is located at 1006 E.Main Street. For reservations, call (805) 667-2900.
The rest of the Rubicon's "Dream Season" will feature The World Goes Round, The Glass Menagerie and The Boys Next Door. The theatre will also present a three week run of Barry and Jenny Sullivan's J for J, set for the summer with "Three's Company"'s John Ritter. For season subscriptions ($68), call (805) 667-2900.
— By Christine Ehren