Stage West to Present STARBRIGHT & VINE, Begin. 2/27

What happens when an aging womanizer of a comic is forced to create a sketch with a disillusioned thirty-something actress-turned-ghost writer? The results are not what you might expect, and are certainly not what they expected, in the new play by Richard J. Allen, Starbright & Vine, beginning a 4-week world premiere run at Stage West on Thursday, February 27.

Marty Vine, a former TV star reduced to doing stand-up in Atlantic City, has just received some startling news from his son Blake. PBS, with the assistance of the White House, is putting together a big retrospective production centered on the best of the 20th century, and they want Marty to appear as Best TV Comedian. Or, as Marty puts it, "the best 'not so dead' TV comic of the 20th century." The problem? They want new material. And Marty, whose mind is starting to slip a little, can't manage the writing and does not want to do the gig. He needs the money, though, and so Blake has found a writer for him to work with. A former actress with several hit films, Jackie's disgust with the trappings of fame has turned her to writing. She's not crazy about the whole idea either, as Marty's a bit of a jerk. Who used to sleep with her mother. But she could use the money too, and so they start the process. And call it quits. And start again.

These two dysfunctional people have some epic (and funny) battles, and it seems that they will never pull this off. But much to their surprise, they also find that they may just be able to help each other in ways that no one else could. Starbright & Vine is both funny and heartbreaking, and audience members may just see a bit of themselves in these two flawed people.

Richard J. Allen is a two-time Emmy-Award winning writer who also serves as Professor of Film, Television and Digital Media at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth. His plays have been seen on local stages over the past three decades, beginning with a staged reading of Seducing Sally at Stage West in 1995. His most recent work, The Seduction and Deception of Mozart was produced at the University of Texas, Arlington's Mainstage Theatre in 2012. Among Allen's other plays are Professor Allen Writes a Book about Popular Culture, Return to Planet Zoloft, and The Man Who Killed Rock Monennoff. Parashah Plays - Allen's collection of short comic plays based on the Bible - are performed at synagogues and schools across America. Richard's television credits include Days of Our Lives, General Hospital and As the World Turns. He is blissfully married to Cantor Sheri Allen and has three spectacular children: Jeremy, Emily and Rebekah.

Starbright & Vine is directed by Jim Covault, and features Cliff Stephens, last seen at Stage West as Sir Anthony Absolute in The Rivals, as Marty, with Lee Jamison, also last at Stage West in The Rivals, as Jackie. Marty's son Blake will be played by Randy Pearlman, most recently seen in the Circle Theatre production of Too Many Cooks, while Marty's long-suffering girlfriend Donna will be played by Audrey Ahern, seen at Undermain Theatre in The Ghost Sonata.

The set will be designed by Jim Covault, with lighting by Michael O'Brien. Costume design will be be handled by Michael Robinson and Dallas Costume Shoppe, with props and set décor by Lynn Lovett.

Starbright & Vine will preview Thursday, February 27 at 7:30 and Friday, February 28 at 8:00, and will run through Sunday, March 23. Performance times will be Thursday evenings at 7:30, Friday and Saturday evenings at 8:00, with Sunday matinees at 3:00. The opening night reception will be Saturday, March 1. Ticket prices range from $28 to $32, with discounts for the preview performance, and for students, seniors, and military. Food service is available 90 minutes prior to performances (reservations are necessary), and the Friday Prix Fixe special (dinner and show for $39) will be available beginning March 7. Reservations and information are available through the Box Office (817-784-9378), or on the website, www.stagewest.org.




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