Happy Valentine's Day from Playbill On-Line! Here's a special roundup of romantic doings in theatres on that special day, Feb. 14:
Summit IL's Candlelight is offering special Valentine packages with its two current shows, Yeston/Kopit's Phantom at the Dinner Playhouse and Alan Ayckbourn's Season's Greetings at the Forum Theatre. Tickets are generally $42.75-$47.50 for dinner and a show, but an extra $18.50 gets couples a floral arrangement in a Candlelight souvenir glass, a chocolate long-stemmed rose, a split of champage, and a sweetheart photo. For more information call (708)496-3000.
Minneapolis' Guthrie Theatre is offering a Valentine's Day gala to celebrate artistic director Joe Dowling's inaugural season. Dain Bosworth hosts the evening, which includes a cocktail reception, silent auction, three-course dinner (all at the Metropolitan Ballroom) and a Dowling directed Midsummer Night's Dream. That auction, by the way, will include such objects as a doll house used in The Cherry Orchard and Scrooge's desk from the Guthrie's Christmas Carol. Tickets to the black-tie gala, $250, also come with valet parking and transportation to and from the Ballroom. For information call (612) 374-5660.
Speaking of A Midsummer Night's Dream, Philadelphia couples might want to spend Friday taking in Another Midsummer Night, Jeffrey Lunden and Arthur Perlman's updated musical adaptation of Shakespeare's woodland comedy. Thanks to an electronic mishap, two wismatched couples get more than they expect when the Bard's original characters join them in the park. For information on the show, which is directed by Michael Maggio and officially opens Feb. 19, call (215) 893-1145. Previews began Feb. 13 for a run through March 9.
A delicate, dangerous romance is at the heart of Eccentricities Of A Nightingale, Temple Theatre of North Carolina's Valentine's Day offering (actually it runs Feb. 14-March 2). This poetic tale of sexual tension between a nervous spinster and a skittish doctor -- Williams' preferred version of his Summer And Smoke -- features Christine Morris and Chris Chappell. For tickets call (919) 774-4155. In California, Valentine's night is "Cop Night" at the Sacramento Theatre Company. That's because Erik Estrada (of TV's "ChiPS") and Police Academy's Leslie Eastbrook will be appearing in A.R. Gurney's epistolary play, Love Letters. Estrada and Eastbrook are only two of the stars taking part in a week-long salute to the show, which began Feb. 11 with the play's original stars, Joanna Gleason and John Rubinstein, and continues through Feb. 16 with such performers as Jennifer Whitney and Ed Asner (Feb. 15 mat), Sally Struthers and Avery Schreiber (Feb. 15 eve), and Troy Donahue and Beverly Garland (Feb. 16 mat).
Romantically-inclined New Yorkers can catch what production spokesperson Jim Randolph calls "the ultimate date show" at Off Broadway's WestSide Theatre. It's the long-running, I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change, a musical about dating, relationships and marriage by Joe DiPietro and Jimmy Roberts. Although the show won't be doing anything "special" for Valentine's Day, on Tuesday, Feb. 18, the show will inaugurate its meet-and-greet series of authors' evenings (such as Robin Gorman Newman, author of How To Meet A Mensch In NY). For more information on the show, call (212) 239-6200.
Other viable date shows in NYC include the evergreen Fantasticks, about a naive boy and girl whose love blossoms through the good times and survives through the bad; Defending The Caveman, wherein Michael "Commish" Chiklis delivers Rob Becker's comic perspective on male/female traits, and Beauty And The Beast, Disney's lavish stage production that tells of bookish Belle taming a boorish "bete."
Finally, what better way to celebrate the ultimate day of romance than with the ultimate expression of love and commitment: a wedding. Feb. 14 marks the 10th anniversary of Tony N' Tina's Wedding, a spoof of Italian weddings that features audience interaction, cocktails, pasta, and a wild, colorful ceremony between Tony (Patrick Buckley) and Tina (Susanna Keller).
For its anniversary, TN'T will take over the Grand Ballroom of Windows On The World Restaurant at 1 World Trade Center. A benefit performance (for the AIDS organization, God's Love We Deliver), this TN'T will come with cocktails, a 3-course gala dinner, and, of course, the nuttiest wedding ceremony in town. Tickets for the benefit are set at a "minimum donation" of $225. For information on this gala Wedding anniversary, call (1-800) 445-8425. For information on Tony N' Tina's regular performances (at St. John's Church & Vinnie Black's Coliseum in the Village), call (212) 279-4200.
Oh, and one last tip: curmudgeons who hate Valentine's Day can always head up to Vancouver and catch Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf, opening Feb. 13 at the Vancouver Playhouse. Tom McBeath and Nora McLellan play warring George and Martha in this production of Edward Albee's drama, which runs to March 8.
--By David Lefkowitz