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‘California Suite’ coming to Towngate

October 28, 2010
From staff reports

WHEELING - Oglebay Institute's Towngate Theatre will present Neil Simon's comedy "California Suite" for two weekends on Nov. 5-7 and 11-13 at Oglebay Institute's Towngate Theatre.

A humorous confection that ruminates on relationships and life, "California Suite" is similar in structure to Simon's earlier "Plaza Suite." It consists of four short plays grouped together by a shared location - a Beverly Hills Hotel. Hilarity abounds during the adventures of couples from New York, Philadelphia, London and Chicago, one after another, as they occupy the same suite - at different times - bringing all of their wacky "baggage" with them.

Each play reveals a snapshot of an ongoing relationship viewed through some kind of crisis or turning point with histories neatly packed in.

Article Photos

Neil Simon’s “California Suite” consists of four short plays grouped together by a shared location — a Beverly Hills Hotel. In “Visitors from Chicago,” two couples are at each other’s throats near the end of a disastrous vacation they should never have shared. Cast members, clockwise from left, are Leigh Ann Towne, Vince Marshall, Joe Heatherington and Amy Novak. The plays will be presented Nov. 5-7 and 11-13 at Towngate Theatre.

In "Visitors from New York," a sophisticated divorced couple argues about which parent should keep their 17-year-old daughter. In "Visitor from Philadelphia," a conservative, middle-aged businessman awakens to discover a prostitute unconscious in his bed after consuming a bottle of vodka. With his wife on her way up to the suite, he must find a way to conceal all traces of his uncharacteristic indiscretion. The "Visitors from London" are an insecure British actress nominated for an Academy Award and her husband Sidney, a once-closeted antique dealer who increasingly has become indiscreet about his sexual preference. The "Visitors from Chicago" are two couples at each other's throats near the end of a disastrous vacation they shouldn't have shared.

Each story is distinctly different and ranges from verbal repartee to brawling slapstick. The original Broadway production of "California Suite" opened at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre on June 10, 1976, and ran for 445 performances. It was later adapted into a feature film starring Alan Alda, Jane Fonda, Walter Matthau, Bill Cosby, Richard Pryor, Elaine May, Maggie Smith and Michael Caine.

Cast members for Towngate's production of "California Suite" include Leigh Ann Towne, Joe Heatherington, Amy Novak, Vince Marshall, Wayne McCord, Cathie Spencer, Justin Swoyer, Melissa Ceo, Nancy Longo, Dee Gregg and Pete Fernbaugh.

Sponsored by Whiteside Cadillac Buick Pontiac Chevrolet GMC Trucks, Towngate's curtain is at 8 p.m. Nov. 5-6 and 11-12 and 2 p.m. Nov. 7.

For reservations, call (304) 242-7700. For those buying seats at the door, Towngate's box office opens one hour before all shows and can be reached at (304) 233-4257.

Refreshments are available at Towngate Theatre, and parking is curbside or in the nearby Center Wheeling parking garage.

Located at 2118 Market St., Towngate is easy to find and across the street from St. Alphonsus Catholic Church in the historic Centre Market district of Wheeling.

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