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February 4, 2002


WHAT: “The Family Game,” World Premiere engagement of a new play.
WHO: Written by Georgia Flosi. Directed by Cynthia Baer. A Theatre Of Hope Production in association with Acorn Productions.
WHERE: Bitter Truth Playhouse, 11050 Magnolia Blvd., North Hollywood. This is between Lankershim and Vineland.. There is a municipal parking lot on Magnolia west of Lankershim, several minutes walk from the theatre.
WHEN: February 9- March 17, 2002. Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m. Additional Sunday evening performances at 7 p.m. on February 17, 24, March 3, 10. See note below regarding Special Event on February 23.
ADMISSION: $15; Seniors and members of performing arts unions, $12.
RESERVATIONS AND INFORMATION: (818) 766-9702 ext. 4.

* * * * * *

Famed comedy actors Charlie Brill and Mitzi McCall turn to more serious material in the new play presented by Theatre Of Hope at the Bitter Truth Playhouse, “The Family Game.”

Kate (played by Joanne McGee) is a young mom with a somewhat self-absorbed husband , Stan (Gary Lamb), and a daughter, Darcy (Jessica Harrow). Her other close family members consist of brother Chris (Ryan Cassidy), a Christian missionary, her mother Maureen (Ms. McCall) and stepfather Will (Brill).

Kate had suffered a nervous breakdown while in college, but eventually married and began a family. Her husband’s demands for her assistance in his work leave her no time for her own artistic pursuits, which frustrates her. Nonetheless, she has a husband and daughter who love her and all would at least be tolerable, but she is troubled by her need for normalcy and to not “be crazy again.” At the root of her emotional disarray is the post traumatic stress she suffers, which originated in her childhood when her stepfather inappropriately fondled her. Chris, who suffered similar abuse, found healing in his religious faith.

Will, regretful and remorseful for his crimes of years ago towards his stepchildren, wants to be a doting grandfather to Darcy before he dies. Kate, however, believes Darcy to be in serious danger from Will. For too long, Will, Chris, and Kate have been silent about the sins of the past. It’s time for the showdown that will impact Maureen, Darcy, and Stan as well.

Charlie Brill and Mitzi McCall enjoy one of the longest unions in show business, having wed after meeting at the Jerry Lewis Comedy Workshop in 1959. They were regulars on the landmark comedy series “Rowan And Martin’s Laugh-In” and more recently portrayed Captain and Mrs.Lipschitz for six seasons on “Silk Stalkings.” They’ve also been successful separately, with Mitzi in series “Alright, Already” and “Life Goes On,” and Charlie portraying Arne Darvin on both “Star Trek (the original series)” and “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.”

Ryan Cassidy, youngest of the handsome sons of Jack Cassidy and Shirley Jones, first achieved his own national prominence as a regular on the TV series “The Facts Of Life.” Gary Lamb has been co-director of the Nevada Shakespeare Festival for several years and has appeared locally in classical plays with Excalibur Theatre Company and Arroyo Repertory Theatre. Joanne McGee has also appeared with the Nevada Shakespeare Festival, Excalibur Theatre Company, and Arroyo Rep. Her recent tv credits include “Boston Public” and “First Years” and she will appear in the upcoming film “Interviewing Norman.”

Like Brill and McCall, Lamb and McGee are happy and devoted real-life spouses.

Cynthia Baer directs. Her long career as a producer and director began with the original New York production of “Little Mary Sunshine,” included nine years as Artistic Director of the Richard Basehart Playhouse in the Valley, and included working with stars including Brian Stokes Mitchell, Eileen Brennan, John McMartin, Cliff Norton, Bernie West, Marcia Rodd, Shirley Jones, Richard Basehart, and Wendie Malick.

Georgia Flosi is an award-winning playwright and novelist. Her new book, “The Remnant,” is the first in her projected “Exit Counselor Series,” about a former FBI agent who rescues people from Jonestown-style cults. On Saturday February 23, from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., there will be a book-signing in the theatre courtyard of “The Remnant,” with 40% of the proceeds being donated to Children Of The Night, the renowned organization devoted to the relief and rescue of teen prostitutes, many of whom were sexually abused as children. Cynthia Baer’s novel, “The Flaw,” a contemporary update on the Gothic romance novel, will also be signed and sold by the author. Refreshments will be served. This special event will be hosted by Eileen Brennan, Cliff Norton, Charlie Brill, and Mitzi McCall.

Theatre Of Hope is a non-profit organization known for its production of plays that illuminate vital social issues.

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