Center Stage will close out its 14th season with I Remember Mama, which opens on March 29 at the Shelton venue. The production, described as a heartwarming comic-drama, will be directed by Center Stage founders Gary and Francesca Scarpa, who recently announced their retirement as directors of Center Stage.
“People are asking us if this is our last production,” said Gary Scarpa, “but the truth is we really don’t know at this time. Our plan is to take a full year away from directing before we decide if we want to direct again. If we still have energy in our batteries at that point, we may want to direct a production now and then at Center Stage. If not, it’s off to other ventures.”
“In the meantime, we leave things in the very capable hands of our successor, Martin Scott Marchitto, who is a highly talented theater professional, prepared to lead Center Stage Theatre into a prosperous future,” added Francesca Scarpa.
Marchitto came onboard at the theater in January as associate artistic director, and the Scarpas say he has things well under control.
I Remember Mama, by John Van Druten, is based on Kathryn Forbes’ novel Mama's Bank Account, which was loosely based on her childhood. It is a study of family life centered on a Norwegian immigrant family in San Francisco early in the 20th century.
The play premiered on Broadway on Oct. 19, 1944, at the Music Box Theatre in New York City, where it ran for 713 performances and was nominated for five Tony Awards. The play was made into a 1948 film of the same name, which starred Irene Dunne in the titular role, as well as Philip Oscar Homolka who reprised the role of Uncle Chris, which he had created on Broadway. Subsequently, a television series, based on the play, starring Peggy Wood and a young Dick Van Patten, ran on CBS from 1949 until 1957.
“We are so excited about bringing this wonderful family story to life on our stage,” said Gary Scarpa. “It is a funny and touching play about a loving family that can be enjoyed by the entire family.”
Center Stage Theatre is a non-profit organization, founded in 2005 by the Scarpas. The theater presents a full season of five productions. Center Stage’s purpose is “to enhance the cultural environment within its community; to present high quality theatrical productions at affordable prices; to encourage growth and education through the performing arts; and to provide a means for interested adults, teens and children to experience and participate in various aspects of live theater.”
I Remember Mama plays at 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, March 29 through April 13, with 2 p.m. shows on March 31, April 7 and April 14, and a 7 p.m. show on April 11. The theater is located at 54 Grove Street. For tickets, call 203-225-6079 or visit www.centerstageshelton.org.