Saturday, May 26 , 2018, 1:33 am | Fair 58º


Speaking of Stories to Open Season with ‘Nothing But Laughs’

Performances on Sunday and Monday will mark the return to Center Stage Theater

Speaking of Stories has announced changes and new developments for its 16th season.

It will be returning to its original home at Center Stage Theater and adding Sunday matinee performances to its schedule.

Jay Thomas
Jay Thomas

Center Stage offers an intimate theater experience that many in the audience have missed. After each performance, Speaking of Stories will host a reception on the patio outside the theater with the actors and artistic director Maggie Mixsell.

The addition of the Sunday matinee will offer the audience greater flexibility, with two performances to choose from for each production.

Speaking of Stories also has added online ticket sales to make ordering easy. Seating for the performances will be general admission, as is the tradition at Center Stage; however, subscribers have the option of selecting reserved seats.

Mixsell is putting together a great season, mixing Speaking of Stories favorites with talented new faces.

Nothing But Laughs will open the season this Sunday and Monday with a collection of stories all intended to go for the laughs. Film, television and radio funny man Jay Thomas will headline the performance, which also will feature Christina Allison, Miller James and Tony Miratti reading stories by Garrison Keillor and John Updike.

Thomas will bring to life Jack Schmidt, arts administrator by Keillor. Allison will lend her unique talents to The Death of Julius Caesar by Leo Rosten.

Miratti will make everyone laugh with his interpretation of Ron Carlson’s The Gold Lunch. James makes his Speaking of Stories season debut with Updike’s Farell’s Caddie. Devin Scott will round out the evening, putting a comic twist on the sting of The Rejection by Woody Allen.

A Passage to India, Jan. 31 and Feb. 1, will feature stories drawn from this unique country, as varied as it is vast. India is present in each of these tales — either as the setting or as a memory for one of the characters. Performances will include James Lashly reading Good Advice is Rarer Than Rubies by Salman Rushdie.

Down Memory Lane on March 28-29 will include stories that take a stroll through the past, ranging from the touching to the hilarious. Performances include Sylvia Short, Jenna Scanlon, Rudy Willrich and Kristina Kulchin reading stories by Isabel Allende, Anne LaMott, Stuart McClean and Alice Walker.

On April 18-19, Twisty Tales will bring surprising stories with unexpected developments, including a new story by Santa Barbara author Saral Burdette and tales from Roald Dahl and Louise Ehrlich. Burdette will be joined on stage by Faline England, Robert Demetriou and Jim Siriani.

The season will conclude May 9-10 with a Celebration of Stories featuring the Speaking of Stories debut of film and stage veteran David Selby, the return of Pamela and Bradford Dillman, as well as a special appearance by T.C. Boyle reading from his newest book to be released in the spring.

Speaking of Stories plays at 2 p.m Sundays and 7:30 p.m. Mondays at the Center Stage Theater, 751 Paseo Nuevo. Box office hours are noon to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, and one-hour before all shows. Tickets are $10 to $25; subscription packages are available for $69 to $134. For tickets, click here or call the box office at 805.963.0408.

The Center Stage Theater is wheelchair accessible and has an Assistive Listening System for patrons who are hard of hearing.

Teri Ball is the executive director of Speaking of Stories.

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