MERIDEN — "The Star Spangled Girl” kicks off the Castle Craig Players’ 27th season, opening Friday at the group’s intimate downtown theater.
Director Pam Amodio has a special connection to the Neil Simon comedy from the 1960s.
She was stage manager of a 1971 production of the play by a now-defunct Hartford-based theater group called the Mark Twain Maskers, where she met her husband, who was in the cast.
“We rehearsed for six weeks and on the closing night of the show, we went out,” Amodio said. “That was in May, and by September we were married.”
She also directed the Castle Craig Players’ productions of “Lend Me a Tenor” earlier this year and “The Vagina Monologues” in 2018.
“The Star Spangled Girl” has a cast of three characters.
Andy and Norman are producers of a protest magazine. Sophie, an Olympic swimmer and all-American girl who just moved into the apartment next door, pays the young men a good-neighbor visit.
From that moment on, Norman is hopelessly smitten. His love for Sophie becomes an obsession, and he literally drives her crazy by ignoring her rejection and constantly interfering in her life. Meanwhile, Andy is preoccupied with fending off creditors and charming the landlady to avoid being evicted for not paying the rent.
The situation is eventually resolved through a series of hilarious happenings set forth with the masterly skill and inventiveness that are the hallmarks of Neil Simon.A small cast
Katie DePonte plays Sophie, Jamie Reopell plays Norman and David Macharelli plays Andy.
It’s DePonte and Reopell’s first performance with the theater group.
DePonte said she was familiar with “The Star Spangled Girl,” having done scene work from the play in an acting class, and decided to audition.
She hopes the audience enjoys the comedy during the show, and then will go home and reflect on the political themes.
“From the ’60s to today, there’s some interesting themes there,” she said.
Reopell was not familiar with the play when he auditioned, but did know of Neil Simon, which piqued his interest.
Reopell said he hopes the audience “sees the heart in all the characters and the underlying passion that each of them have.”
Macharelli is a returning Castle Craig Players actor, having most recently starred in “Lend Me a Tenor.”
“Working with a small cast means everyone has a ton of responsibility, and a lot of lines and dialogue to learn,” Macharelli said. “But you get to know each other really, really well and that is always the best part … There’s been a lot of jam-packed moments full of fun and excitement.”Ticket info
"The Star Spangled Girl" opens Friday and runs through Oct. 5 at the Almira F. Stephan Memorial Playhouse, 59 W. Main St.
Shows are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays and 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 26.
Shows are presented cabaret-style with table seating. Patrons are invited to bring their own food and drinks.
Tickets are $20 for adults and $18 for seniors age 65 and older. Tickets may be purchased online at www.CastleCraig.org or by calling 1-800-838-3006.
“The Star Spangled Girl” is sponsored by Thompson Chocolates.