Train buffs and those who just want to experience the opulence of the trains from days gone by won’t want to miss the production of On The Twentieth Century, running through Nov. 13 at the Novato Theater Company Playhouse at 484 Ignacio Blvd. in the Pacheco Plaza.
Get aboard the Twentieth Century Limited, the train where the phrase “red carpet treatment” originated as it leaves the station. In fact, theatergoers will get to experience that “red carpet treatment” as they walk down the center aisle to their seats. The original red carpet was the length of a football field and stretched from the observation car to the engine. It was used only from New York beginning in 1938, until the train’s last run in 1968. Passenger lists included Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, Bette Davis and Doris Day. Of course the red carpet is still used in Hollywood today.
On the Twentieth Century is set on the famous train linking New York to Chicago and was considered at the time the epitome of luxury and elegance in continental travel, said play director, choreographer and theater artistic director Blanca Florido of San Anselmo. Produced by Karen Thouvenin of Woodacre, the show is an example of 1930s screwball comedy. Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur wrote the original 1932 comedy Twentieth Century the musical is based on.
Oscar Jaffee had produced four flops on Broadway and sees his leading lady Lily Garland depart to become a Hollywood star. He tries every which way to get her to return to Broadway to star in his next show but she refuses until Letitia Primrose offers to underwrite the play and a film that could propel her to stardom. Unfortunately Primrose actually escaped from a mental institution and spends most of her time sticking “repent” stickers on the train.
David Bauer of El Sobrante is starring as Jaffee with Linda Gaudiani of Ross playing the role of Garland. Other leading parts are: John Conway of Novato as Owen; with Johnny DeBernard of Novato as Oliver; Daniela Innocenti Beem of Rohnert Park as Primrose; and Sean O’Brien of San Rafael as Bruce Granit.
Other cast members include: Kevin Brooks of San Rafael, Hope Carrillo of San Rafael, Shari Clover of San Rafael, Tim Clover of San Rafael, E. Bond Francisco of Fairfax, Sherry Hines of Novato, Steve Lockett of Novato, Robert Nelson of Novato, Shelley Sanborn of Rohnert Park, Kate Savage of Novato, Kelsey Sloan of San Anselmo and David Vargo of San Rafael.
Miss Marin 2011, Sarah Rutan, will also have a special walk-on role at the show as a passenger on the Twentieth Century Limited on Friday, Oct. 28.
Michael Moran of Alameda is musical director for the show with Debra Chambliss of Walnut Creek, playing keyboard and Mike Evans of Novato as percussionist.
Shows are at 8 p.m., with Sunday Matinees at 3 p.m. Tickets are $25 for general admission and $22 for seniors and students. Children are $12.
For reservations, call 415-883-4498 or go to www.novatotheatercompany.org.