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2013 -2014 (Season V)

Arden Playhouse Presents...

Have a Nice Day

Written and Directed by Michael Messmer

What would you do if you’d spent months of back-breaking labor on the most important project of your life only to have someone shows up ready to demolish what you’ve built?

Amanda and Marv Dillon moved west to build their dream home (actually just a cabin in the mountains) and get away from all the rules and regulations of urban society. Although they don’t know anything about construction, they’ve been working for months building their new home. They’ve had help from Jo, a local contractor who is a taskmaster and has an endless supply of old sayings to keep the couple working. The job is so hard and frustrating that they’ve started giving names...not always nice names...to the sewer tiles, plasterboard and other things they’ve broken. But, in the process, they’ve become very attached to and proud of what they’ve accomplished.

Then they get a visit from Bobby and Tina, a brother and sister who are also the local building inspectors...and things get complicated very fast. For one thing, it turns out there is a bit of bad history between Tina and Jo. For another, it turns out that Jo doesn’t have a contractor’s license.
Although Jo has enough experience with Tina to know that the inspection can get ugly, it isn’t until Tina and Bobby start destructive testing that Amanda and Marv become alarmed. First, Marv has a painful encounter with Tina when he tries to stop Bobby from drilling in the sewer leach line he has just completed. But, when it appears that Tina is going to attack some of the sheetrock that Amanda has finally learned to install without breaking, Amanda acts to protect her walls and her home in a very dramatic way that turns everything upside down.

This warm and funny look at who we are and what our world has become opened on Friday, April 25th. This was our last production, before closing our doors.


One Boss Too Many

Adaptation by Michael Messmer

Directed by Candi Pickering

Arden Playhouse is delighted to present ONE BOSS TOO MANY, a modern adaptation by Michael Messmer of one of the world's great comedies Carlo Goldoni's The Servant of Two Masters. It is the story of a pair of young lovers, one set from the old world and one from the new, whose lives are turned upside down by old ways and one guy too clever for his own good.
At first all looks beautiful as Clarice Rotini is engaged to Robert Canneloni with the blessing of their parents, Carlo Rotini and Prof. Canneloni. But word soon arrives via the clever Vito Truffaldino that Bernardo Ravioli has arrived to have the old promise of his marriage to Clarice honored. All had heard that Bernardo had been killed and therefore, the promise no longer mattered.
When Bernardo enters, apparently alive, it appears that the marriage of Clarice and Robert is impossible. But that's just the start of the mayhem. Bernardo is really his sister, Beatrice, in disguise. She has come from Italy as her brother to find her lover, Giorgio, who fled to America after killing Bernardo.At some point you may think you need a chart to keep up with all the twists and turns in the plot, but it really doesn't matter. The fun is watching how Vito creates a world of fanciful stories (okay, lets just call them lies) in order to save his job...and finally, save his neck. And see the beauty of true love winning out in spite of all...and that the scheming Vito finally gets what's coming to him.

Appearing in the Arden Playhouse production of ONE BOSS TOO MANY are Billy Jean Vollman, Frank Hickox, Aimelle Heinberger, Taylor Fleer, Patty Thiel, Stephen Watson, Scott Plotkin, Elias Nunez and Matthew Fairall.

Performance Dates: 

8PM Fridays and Saturdays - - March 7, 8, 14, 15, 21, 22, 28, 29, April 4, 5, 11, 12.

Sunday Matinees 2PM - - March 16 & 23.


Sibling Schemes

by Michael Messmer

What can go wrong when a brother and sister try to manipulate each other to get their own way? Joanne needs her brother, Tad, back to help run the family business. He had been running it after his father died but hated the job and turned it over to his sister (who was actually better at it) with plans to become a monk. He’s coming for a weekend visit and she plans to convince him he doesn’t really want to be a monk by hiring an actress to play a sexy maid. He isn’t really interested in becoming a monk but doesn’t want to work in the family business again...so he’s asked an old college friend to join them and pretend to be a psychiatrist who has been treating him. And that's when all the hilarious chaos begins...

Karla, the maid (Vanessa Voetsch, center rear) accuses Sidney, the housekeeper (Katherine Leishman, left) of being the one who revealed the scheme as Richard (Mark Stone, seated), Joanne (Carolyn Gregory) and Tad (James Andrew) wonder in the Arden Playhouse production of SIBLING SCHEMES.

Performance dates: Fridays and Saturdays 8 p.m.
January 24 thru February 15
Sundays: February 2 & 9 at 2 p.m.

Arsenic and Old Lace

by Joseph Kesserling

Arsenic and Old Lace is presented by special arrangement with Dramatist Play Service, Inc., New York.

Video clip

The Brewsters are not your typical dysfunctional family with Jonathon (Kevin Kirtlan, rear center) a serial killer, Teddy (D.L.Shields, right) who thinks he’s Teddy Roosevelt, Aunt Martha (Teresa Anhin, front right) and Aunt Abby (Monique McKisson, front left) who serve arsenic laced wine to old men, and finally, worst of all Mortimer (Jon Jackson) the theater critic all ready to give us a delightful evening in the Arden Playhouse production of Arsenic and Old Lace.

Performance dates: Fridays and Saturdays 8 p.m.
November 22 thru December 21 Sundays, December 1st and 8th at 2 p.m.

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) [Revised]

By Adam Long, Daniel Singer & Jess Winfield

Arden Playhouse is pleased to present one of the zaniest, madcap adventures you can have in a theater with THE COMPLETE WORKS OF WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE (abridged)[revised]. The longest running comedy in London's West End! Three wild and crazy guys take on the 37 plays of Shakespeare (and some of the sonnets, just for good measure) in less than two hours. Well, it may not be exactly the Shakespeare you remember from high school. This is more from a modern point of view. Lets call it Wild Bill Shakespeare. Few people realize what a connection he had to, say, football or a cooking show. Who knew he was responsible for the start of World War II? As The Today Show reviewer pointed out, “If you like Shakespeare, you’ll like this show. If you hate Shakespeare, you’ll love this show!” The New York Times called it “PITHIER THAN PYTHON. IRRESISTIBLE.” And the Montreal Gazette said it is “The funniest show you are likely to see in your entire lifetime.” If you’ve seen the earlier version of this show, you’ll find the Revised version provides even more topical insanity. Our three crazy guys are Blake Flores, Chris Quandt and Drew Struck. And we shouldn’t forget, if William Shakespeare were alive today...he’d look very old.

Performance Dates: Oct. 11 and plays on Friday and Saturday nights at 8 through Nov. 9 with Sunday shows at 2pm on Oct. 20 and 27th.

Crumme’s Capers Crossed

Written and directed by Blake Flores

Arden Playhouse is pleased to present Crumme’s Capers Crossed a hauntingly delightful Halloween adventure! Written and directed by Blake Flores and loosely based on Shakespeare’s Love’s Labors Lost, it tells the story of King Ferdinand’s attempt to start an “academy” with his lords Biron and Dumain. The plan is for all three to remain isolated for three years, to study without any distractions from the outside world. Unfortunately, the world won’t leave them alone.  Princess Sharon and Lord Boyet urgently need money from the King to save the Princess’ father, and they go undercover to get it. At the same time, the King and his Lords are haunted by the villainous Duke Armado’s plans for the revenge of his own father’s untimely death. Add to that, the intervention of Lady Rosaline who is in disguise as a Page (and in turn as a peasant girl) and who may be working both sides. The King and Lords have their resolve tested as costumed characters, disguises, spirits and witches abound on All Hallows Eve in an all-ages story with a little Shakespearean flavor.

This production of Arden’s Storytelling Adventures (ASA) includes veteran ASA actors Vanessa Voetsch as Princess Sharon, Elias Nunez as Dumain, Lakshman Vasam as Biron and Blake Flores as Boyet. In addition ASA welcomes newcomers Alyssa Bedoya as Rosaline, Bobby Hanselman as Ferdinand and D.L.Shields as the villainous Armado.

Performance dates: Saturdays at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. and Sundays at 5 p.m., October 5-27.

Be Happy

Written and Directed by Michael Messmer

Video clip

Marcy (Laura Hechel, left), Bruce’s former fiance, tries to take the knife away from Sally (Keri Long) but Sally is afraid she might hurt Bruce instead of getting him out of the freezer as Kris (Katie Pratt) tries to break up the fight and Bruce (Blake Flores) simply wants to get his head loose from the ice in the Arden Playhouse production of BE HAPPY.

We all know what happiness is. Or do we? Have you ever really thought about it? Or maybe you shouldn’t think too much about it...because that’s what’s happened to Bruce Carver. And now he’s thinking about ending it all...simply because he can’t figure out what it means to be happy. Then he encounters a thief with a degree in philosophy. Really. And the game is afoot. Arden Playhouse is delighted to present BE HAPPY a devastatingly comic exploration of almost every idea anyone has ever had about what it means to be happy. And what can happen to people who over-analyze things until they become totally confused. In another original comedy by Michael Messmer, you have to wonder if he’s channeling Woody Allen or just poking fun at people who may be too smart for their own good.

BE HAPPY opened on August 23rd and continued on Friday and Saturday nights at 8pm, except for Labor Day weekend until September 28th with Sunday matinees at 2pm on Sept. 8th and 15th.

2012 - 2013 (Season IV)


See a video clip

The Silent Treatment

By D. Chapelle

Directed by Candi Pickering

Evil landlord Harlow Hovelmonger is about to throw the Angel sisters, Bethany and Lillith out of their home because they haven't been able to make their mortgage payments. When he finds out Bethany is about to inherit a fortune (which she doesn't know) he offers her a bet. If she can keep silent for a week, they can keep their home. If she loses the bet she has to marry him. With the encouragement of her sister, Lillith (who is not a mental giant), Bethany takes the bet. When her true love, Champ Braverman, returns to town she can't make him understand what is happening... apparently she was never good at charades. So how can Braverman help when he doesn't know what is going on? And why is the he hiding from the local authorities? Will Lillith help? And how about Hovelmonger's assistant, Emma? After all, she thought he was going to marry her? More twists, turns and complications than you can imagine ... and all designed for lots of boos and hisses for the villain, cheers for the hero and heroine and lots of laughs for all in THE SILENT TREATMENT.

THE SILENT TREATMENT stars D.L.Shields as Hovelmonger, Tiffany McKinney as Bethany, Katie Pratt as Emma, Ellice Kendzior as Lillith and T.S. Hamilton as Champ.

8PM Fridays and Saturdays - - June 7, 8, 14, 15, 21, 22, 28, 29, July 12, 13, 19, 20

Sunday Matinees 2pm. - - June 16, 23, and July14.


Written and Directed by Blake Flores

See a video clip

Cast members from left to right: Laksshman Vasam, Stacie Hitchcock, Blake Flores, Vanessa Voetsch, Elias Nunez, Frakn Hickox, and Bill Pickering.

Playwright and director Blake Flores reaches into ancient myths, folklore and fairy tales to conjure a story that will excite and delight the young and young-at-heart with THE FAERIE TALE SUMMER.

In the long, bright days of mid-summer, the human world and the faerie world nearly touch...and magic can happen. When a would-be sorcerer’s apprentice casts a spell to turn a seamstress into a princess he accidentally opens a portal between this and the faerie world. His actions could upset the balance of the seasons. As the kings of summer and winter try to use the princess to gain control of the world to create only one year-round season, she begins to wonder if she’d rather be in the world of humans. Only with the guidance of the sorcerer are things turned back as they should be and the balance of the seasons restored.

Arden Playhouse is pleased to present this wonderful production twice on Saturdays June 29, July 6, 13, and 20 at 11 am and 1pm and once on Sundays June 30, July 7, 14, and 21 at 5pm.


A comedy by Michael Messmer

April 19, 20, 26, 27, 28 and May 3, 4, 10, 12, 17, 18, 19, 24 & 25.


Art (Andy Anthony, seated right) tries to explain his girlfriend Sharon (Vanessa Voetsch, standing right) why Harley (Scott Plotkin) is holding him as Crazy Maggie (Patty Thiel, left) and Julie (Keri Long) jump to their own conclusions in the Arden Playhouse production of HARLEY’S LUCKY DAY.
Harley’s seriously depressed. Hasn’t kept a job in years because he exposed shady accounting and got a reputation as a whistle-blower. His psychiatrist fired him and he thinks his girlfriend left him. He even bought a gun to kill himself but didn’t have enough money for the bullets. He doesn’t think things can get worse. Then Crazy Maggie shows up looking for food and a place to hide. She’s just escaped from a mental hospital where she’s been held because she killed every man who found her attractive. She finds Harley’s pistol and when he finds her, the first question she has for him, with the gun aimed at him is “Do you find me attractive?” His response is just the start of a chain of events that end up making this HARLEY’S LUCKY DAY.

For Love or Money

Written and Directed by Michael Messmer

8PM Fridays and Saturdays - - March 1,2, 8, 9, 15, 16, 22, 23, 29, 30; April 5, & 6.
Sunday Matinees 2pm. - - March 10, 17, 24 & 31.

Video Link

Amanda is rich, but she’d rather work. Her friend, Trisha, thinks a therapist she’s seeing can help Amanda, so Amanda agrees to meet the therapist. She also has to deal with a housekeeper who has serious problems with romance. Paolo (really Paul affecting a wild Italian accent and arrogant demeanor) who dislikes the wealthy and uses his job to insult them, arrives to redecorate Amanda’s apartment which complicates things even further in this wild and zany comedy.

Mistaken identity, hypnotism and deception all contribute to the mayhem, as the cast of characters tries to figure out what to do and whether to do it For Love or Money.

Bunny Times
Written and directed by Blake Flores 

A Hare-Raising Time-Travel Adventure

Video Link

An evil scientist who invented a quirky, unreliable time machine, went back in time in quest of power and riches but inadvertently altered the course of bunny history. As a result, the Easter Bunny doesn’t come this year. Another scientific genius (his good twin), who just happened to be working on a time machine as well, is consulted by an intrepid reporter. While the Easter bunny is running for his life from a pair of wide-eyed farmers, the good brother reluctantly agrees to allow the reporter to use his unproven time machine to try to save Easter.

The adventurous reporter ends up in several time periods, including medieval times, and meets with Princess Ostara and her step-mother, the power-hungry Queen Matilda, who hold the key to Easter success, with the help of an impudent court jester.

Performance Dates:  Saturdays and Sundays - - March 9 through 31

Two performances Saturdays at 11AM & 1PM and one on Sundays at 5 PM.

Any Friend of Percy D'Angelino is a Friend of Mine

by Jason Milligan

Produced by special arrangement with Samuel French, Inc.

Directed by Blake Flores.

8PM Fridays and Saturdays - - Jan. 11, 12, 18, 19, 25, 26; Feb. 1, 2, 8, 9, 15 & 16.
Sunday Matinees 2pm. - - January 20, & 27; February 3.

Following is a "blurb" about the show from French's website.

Presented in Los Angeles with Peter Falk, Christian Slater and Jean Smart, this side splitting Mafia comedy begins with a mysterious stranger arriving at the Long Island estate owned by a renowned mob boss. Why is  "Tony" there? To kill the venerable Frankie? To work for him? The mobster's bombshell wife has her own theories. Hilarious antics designed to divine Tony's purpose end with the discovery that he is a soap opera star signed to play Frankie in a feature film! Frankie detests movies and determines to have his guest fitted for cement shoes, but he warms to the idea of being glorified in a Hollywood epic. Laughs abound as he coaches Tony on how to play him.

An original holiday play performed especially for children, but FUN for all ages.

Written and Directed by Blake Flores

With Original Musical Score by Dario Vanni

An elf shares her story of how Bedlam, the evil landlord, threatens to shut down Santa’s toy shop and ruin Christmas for all. Meanwhile, a princess is banished to the North Pole to discover the true meaning of Christmas. Everyone then bands together to showcase their unique talents in hopes that their gifts are enough to save Christmas.

Performance Dates: December 1 – December 23

Saturdays at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Sundays at 5 p.m.

The Costume Ball 

by Norman Beim

Produced by special arrangement with Samuel French, Inc.

This delightful comedy is directed by Michael Messmer           

Harry and Gwen are going to a charity masquerade ball, but Harry’s costume has gone astray. Gwen suggests that he wear an old dress of her aunt’s.  He doesn't like the idea of wearing a dress. They bicker; she wins. Harry tries on the dress and starts to enjoy it. Add some makeup, a wig...and something to make him not look so flat-chested, and he feels like he's playing a glamorous role. The doorbell rings. When Gwen opens the door, Harry is discovered dressed as a woman by Wilbur Wilberforce, an upright businessman from Chicago, whom Harry hopes will save his advertising agency from bankruptcy. Harry panics and pretends to be “Hilary”, supposedly Harry's sister from Boston.Things get rather sticky when Wilberforce seems to be enamored of “Hilary.” But then there's one more twist that let's us know Harry wasn't as clever as he thought in playing the role of Hilary. 

Performance Dates:  

8PM Fridays and Saturdays - - November 9, 10, 16, 17, 30; December 1, 7, 8, 14, & 15

Sunday Matinees 2PM - -  November 18; December 2 & 9


Adapted by Michael Messmer

Arden Playhouse presents “SCHEMES & SCAMS OF SCAPAN”, a revised and updated version of Moliere’s classic farce “Scapin”.  Although revised, this version by the writer who has been called one of the greatest masters of comedy in western literature, retains all of the wild farcical situations, commedia style, dazzling comic dialogue and fast pace of the original.


Scapan (Vincent Keene, bench), supposedly mortally wounded, pleads for forgiveness from everyone before he dies including (from left) Leandre (Scott Plotkin), Zerbinette (Laura Hechel), Madame Argante (Keri Long), Silvestre (D. L. Shields), Geronte (Stephen Watson), Hyacinthe (Claire Langton) and Octave (Frank Hickox) in the Arden Playhouse production of Moliere’s farce SCAPAN.

See a YouTube Promo of Schemes and Scams of Scapan

(Courtesy of Jan Jordan of Key Factor Productions)

Performance dates: 8 PM September 14 thru October 20 on Friday and Saturday nights
with 2 PM Sunday matinees on September 23 & 30 and October 7 & 14.

2011-1012 (Season III)

(The most recently completed show is listed first.)


  by James Kirkwood

[May 4, 2012-June 16, 8 PM - - Sunday Mat: May 13 & 27, 2 PM]
(Produced with permission of Samuel French, Inc.)

Cast members from left to right: Gene Haslett, Patty Thiel, Betty Cummings, Barbara Messmer, and Scott Plotkin.
Not pictured: Keith Goings. (You have to buy a ticket to get to see Keith.)

Theatrical producer Martin needs a couple of famous stars in order to get backing for his new show. He thinks he can get former movie legends Leatrice Monsée and Sylvia Glenn. Both need the work...for income and ego. They have agreed to meet at the apartment of a mutual friend who is out of town. Only problem is...they hate each other. Sparks start flying almost immediately. And then things start to get out of hand after the ladies eat some brownies that the maid has prepared for her own party... apparently made with some special ingredients. After a fight, in which not only the gloves come off...but so do the wigs, and a cop is called to investigate the disturbance...a truce emerges. They are both still fiercely competitive...but with a measure of understanding and respect.

SOAP SOLUTION by Michael Messmer

[Mar. 9, 2012-Apr. 21, Mat: Mar. 18 & Apr. 1]

Sarah (Patty Thiel, left) is determined not to let her husband, Larry (Philip Pittman), be seduced by Marsha (Stephanie Hodson) in the Arden Playhouse production of SOAP SOLUTION.

Larry King thinks he’s washed up as a writer. His wife recently left him in an attempt to shake him out of his depression. Now he’s gone to a mountain cabin for a few weeks of peace and quiet and crossword puzzles. His wife, however, has other plans for him. She’s hired some actors who’ve done bit parts on several soap operas. Her plan is for them to get him caught up in a crazy story they have concocted based on their experiences in the soaps. Keeping him confused is their objective and they seem to succeed for a while with situations that range from a potential suicide to a potential sexual orgy. Just when the wife thinks they’ve succeeded in rattling his cage, he turns the tables on them and (with a little help from the actors) convinces his wife that her plan may have gone awry.


by Murray Schisgal

Jan. 13, 2012-Feb. 25, Mat: Jan. 22 & Feb. 5
(Produced with permission of Dramatist Play Service, Inc.)

Directed by Blake Flores

Schneider is a dynamo, living life to the fullest. But, with age, there have been consequences. A short stay in the hospital because of a heart attack has reminded him of his mortality. Although it has made him concerned about what might become of Roxanne, his much younger wife, he has forgotten that he agreed to get help in changing his life-style. When the specialist arrives from the hospital things start to get complicated. Peter is a physical fitness doctor who lives with his patients for several weeks while he gets them to change their diet and other risky habits. At first Schneider objects to this plan but after Roxanne uses some charm and threats, he agrees. But Schneider has another motive in mind. Later, after Schneider has become a health-nut, it appears that he has been trying to get Peter to marry Roxanne...and the doctor is certainly enamored of her by this point. But, at last, it is Roxanne who gets exactly what she wants.

Dan Beard (on floor) and Corinne Nelson receive "physical fitness training" from Frank Hickox in the Arden Playhouse production of Oatmeal and Kisses.

Wise Guise

by Michael Messmer

Nov. 4 - Dec. 17 at 8pm on Fri. and Sat. nights, except December 2 & 3;
Sun. matinees on Nov. 13 and 27 at 2pm

Jeff is a financial analyst whose wealth has brought him no satisfaction. In fact, the closer he got to marrying into a wealthy family, the more unhappy he became. His fiancée (Tiffany) dumped him with the warning that he’d better get his head straight. He’s come to see the wiseman of the mountain in hope of finding, if not the meaning of life, at least a clue as to why he’s on this quest. The wiseman (Fred) is nothing like anyone’s idea of a guru. He’s sarcastic, likes the good things in life, has his own stock portfolio and has some very weird ways of looking at the world. Fred’s new protégé (Angela) seems to find Jeff a soul-mate which leads to a passionate encounter just as Tiffany shows up to save Jeff from joining what she thinks might be a cult. Aided (and frequently challenged) by his new protégé (who is also a popular psychologist) Fred puts Jeff through an ordeal that that would put Dr. Phil to shame, as he seeks what is really important in his life.

Director: Dean Shellenberger

Tiffany (Kathryn Busch, left) and Angela (Amy Williams, right) struggle with Jeff (Andy Anthony) to see who
gets the gun first to shoot Fred (Scott Plotkin, far right), the wiseman of the mountain, in the Arden Playhouse
production of WISE GUISE

Absolutely Honest

by Michael Messmer

Sept. 16 - Oct. 22 at 8pm Fri. and Sat. nights; Sun. matinees on Sept. 25 and Oct. 2 at 2pm

This is a fast-paced bedroom farce, complete with lots of doors, hanky-panky, and enough misunderstandings to keep the laughs rolling. Four people try to sort out their relationship problems which stem from the fact that they have not been Absolutely Honest with one another.

Marcy (Sarah Price) is only too happy to use whatever charms she has to keep her fiancé, Rock (Scott Plotkin) from asking too many questions about the fling she had with her coworker, Chris, until she has a chance for them to get their stories straight. Adding yet another complication to mayhem in Absolutely Honest at Arden Playhouse.

Being absolutely honest can get you in a lot of trouble...a lesson Chris is learning the hard way as his wife, Liz, is divorcing him after he told her about a one-night, drunken fling with Marcy (a fellow worker). But, after a night together in his new apartment that reminds them both of how much they care for each other, Liz is ready to reconsider. Then she discovers a pair of shoes that are not hers…

Chris and his problems with a bad back, lights that go off at the wrong time, and people who struggle with making decisions are just a few of the complications that make this comedy a wild romp and a hilarious look at what happens with being Absolutely Honest.

2010 - 2011 (Season II)
Lovely in Danger

by Dave Chapelle

August 5 - 27 at 8pm on Fri. & Sat. nights; Sun. matinees on August 14 & 21 at 2pm

Shady, evil and dishonest Filmore Filcher uses various disguises and treacherous tactics to get his greedy paws on the Lovely Ranch, owned by beautiful Amy Lovely and her stalwart Aunt Aggie. Filcher and his not so silent partner, Morganna Snit, want to build a luxury resort and health spa catering to the very rich on the Lovely’s ranch. Will the ladies see through Filcher and Morganna’s sneaky scheming or will they lose everything? Only true-blue Hoot Galoot can save the girl he loves and her ranch...but will he be in time?

Director: Candi Pickering

Our hero Hoot Galoot (Brady Hollis, center) is prepared to do whatever it takes to keep the villain Filmore Filcher (Ron Baker) from taking the family homestead from the woman he loves, the lovely Amy Lovely (Amanda Dyba) in the Arden Playhouse production of LOVELY IN DANGER.

Lovely in Danger is a melodrama with a shorter than normal running time.
This show will be specially priced at $10.00 and is suitable for the whole family!
No group rates for Lovely in Danger.

Fool’s Retreat

by Michael Messmer

(a farce in two acts)

About the Play:  Chris, an accountant running from the mob, has been taken by Diane to hide in a women’s health resort. Magda manages the resort with the help of Maxine. Gwen, an actress with problems, is there for help. Rudy, the mob hit-man arrives disguised as a doctor. An overheard phone call leads Diane to think Gwen is the hit-man in disguise, which leads to all sorts of hilarious situations. Then things get really complicated as Chris dons another disguise to find out what is going on, forgets who he is (thanks to a couple of slams from a lethal door) and becomes the object of affection of several women for very different reasons.

The show opened April 29, 2011
and ran Friday & Saturday at 8 PM thru June 11, 2011
Sunday matinees were at 2 pm May 8 and 22.

Magda (Rebecca Keller) and Rudy (Scott Plotkin) take a break on the sofa and try to sort out what is happening while another chase with Maxine (April Maylene, right rear) trying to get away from Chris (Andy Anthony, rear center) who is also trying to get away from Diane (Marisa DePaulo) passes through the lobby in the madcap farce Fool’s Retreat at Arden Playhouse.

The Murder Room

by Jack Sharkey
(produced by special arrangement with Samuel French, Inc.)

mystery farce in three acts

About the Play:  Wealthy Edgar Hollister marries Mavis Templeton who, after a few hours of blissful marriage, apparently tries various ways to kill him. The Murder Room is a  comedy described as Abbot and Costello meet Agatha Christie with some Monty Python thrown in. It is a wild send up of every murdermystery ever written.

Not knowing they are engaged, housekeeper Lottie (Patty Thiel) is shocked to see
Barry (James McTernen) and Susan (Amy Williams) kissing
in the Arden Playhouse production of THE MURDER ROOM.

The Murder Room ran March 4, 2011 thru April 16, 2011
Friday & Saturday at 8 PM
Sunday matinees at 2 pm March 13 and 27.

Mervin’s Magic

a comedy in two acts written and directed by Michael Messmer  

About the Play:  Some people think wealthy Mervin Coleman can’t run his company because he’s staying away from the office. A psychiatrist has been retained to evaluate Mervin’s competence. Meanwhile, Mervin’s niece (Lisa) wants him to find out if her husband (David) is having an affair. When David shows up to talk about a problem he has with his new business and introduces a strange woman, Mervin thinks she’s the “other woman” and does his best to scare her away. How he sorts out his problems, helps save a marriage, neutralizes his sister and manages to keep the psychiatrist from having him put away makes for a fast-paced comedy (with farcical elements) with lots of twists, sword-fights and surprising warmth.

Friday and Saturday nights at 8 pm, January 7, 2011 thru February 19, 2011
Sunday matinees at 2 pm January 16 and 30.

Cast members (from left to right) John Hanley, Monique McKisson, Amy Williams, and Andy Anthony
have a family moment in Mervin's Magic at Arden Playhouse.


Arden Playhouse is pleased to present Dexterity, a new play by Michael Messmer, Sacramento’s most prolific comedy playwright. Dexterity has a lot of heart and a whole lot of laughs as we see what happens to literary agent Jerry Goodman, a man who may be too kind for his own good.

Jerry has taken an option on a new novel. If he can’t make a deal with a Hollywood producer to pick up the option, he is out of a job (and a huge amount of money). The producer asked Jerry to show him an authentic New England Christmas, so Jerry rented a farmouse in Connecticut. Jerry’s wife isn’t happy about rearranging her life for the holidays but she’s doing her best to make things go well by bringing in part-time help to cook. Immediately complicating matters is a homeless man Jerry brought home. Dexter alters personalities from a barely verbal derelict who may be hearing voices to a seemingly well-educated, erudite and romantic assistant (who may suffer from narcolepsy). The cook thinks there’s something familiar about Dexter and doubts he’s really a homeless person, but a relationship begins to develop between them that adds both confusion and zest. When the producer and his wife arrive early, Jerry and his wife provide a plausible explanation for Dexter’s presence. When Dexter discovers that the producer isn’t what he seems, information is supplied that appears to ruin the deal and Jerry’s career. But Dexter isn’t what he seems, either, returning Jerry’s kindness with surprising generosity.

No one is quite sure who Dexter (Andy Anthony, center on sofa) is but Terry (April Maylene, sofa left) and Dede (Carolyn Gregory) think he's wonderful while Stelle (Missy McVittie, with pan) isn't so sure and Gordon (Jon Beaver, right behind sofa) is skeptical but Jerry (James McClelland) thinks he's worth helping in the Arden Playhouse production of the comedy Dexterity.

Dexterity opened on Friday, November 5, 2010 with performances on Friday and Saturday nights at 8pm through December 18th, with Sunday matinees at 2pm on November 14th and 28th.

Trust Me

A farce in two acts by Michael Messmer

Everyone wants something from someone else in the Arden Playhouse production of Trust Me as Harlan (Joshua Sellers, far left)
tries to escape from Samantha (Jody Wills) as Charlene (Elysse Fountain) tries to get her under control and Jennifer (Julia Meese) tries to find the real Charlene while Robert (Andy Anthony) tries to prevent her from finding out what is really going on. Thank you to Amy Williams for stepping into the part of Charlene late in the run.

Siblings, Robert and Charlene have to delay the termination of their trust allowance while they put together a plan to take over their deceased uncle’s company. In order to confuse the lawyer sent to have them sign off on the trust, they switch roles. Unfortunately, the backer for their takeover plan arrives first and they think it’s the lawyer. When the lawyer arrives, the siblings are already up to their eyeballs in deception but now they have to create new cousins to explain why there seems to be two sets of relatives. Complications ensue when Charlene is attracted to the backer and Robert is attracted to the lawyer. Add lemonade that’s been accidentally laced with pain-killer, a need to check a birthmark located on someone’s derriere, a house keeper (who develops a passion for dancing) at her wit’s end trying to keep up with who is who and it’s easy to see why the guests get confused and frustrated.

Trust Me ran Friday and Saturday nights at 8 pm September 24 through October 30, 2010.
Sunday matinees at 2 pm October 3 and 17.

2009 - 2010 Season I

The Good Old Summertime

A Musical Review Created by Matt Gavin

This musical revue is packed full of the most popular music from the turn of the century (not this one - the last one!).  Enjoy once again the sweet bygone days as four unwitting time travelers encounter their toot, toot, tootsies, when every pretty girl was like a melody and hours were often spent chasing rainbows.  Ah, the sweet mystery of life is sure to be found. So don’t be a melancholy baby, join us by the light of the silvery moon, or stroll down a shady lane for a Sunday matinee.  Bring your beautiful doll or your sweet honey bee!

Download the song list.

August 6 - 28, 2010

Matt Gavin and Linda Small

Marriage is Murder

by Nick Hall - - Produced by special arrangements with SAMUEL FRENCH INC.

Directed by Paul Fearn

July 2 - July 31, 2010

Former married couple and mystery writing partners Paul and Polly Butler are trying to develop a new story for a series of murder mysteries they’ve written because they both need the money. In all their previous plots they’ve acted out the various steps in the crimes. This time they also act out a lot of their frustration with each other while revealing why their marriage didn’t work and finding out they really do well together.

Barbara Messmer and Paul Hauck take aim at laughs
in Marriage is Murder.

The Romantic Imagination by Michael Messmer

May 21 - June 19, 2010

Jack Lassiter is a writer whose latest novel is incomplete because 1) he developed a fascination for the femme fatale of his novel (Linda) and can’t bring himself to having anything bad happen to her and 2) he’s had a skiing accident that has left him with some memory problems (including believing Linda is really alive and in love with him). While Jack has been in the hospital, Larry, his manager and editor, has been staying in Jack’s mountain cabin and trying to get a young woman he met in a local casino (Carly) into bed. When Larry brings Jack home from the hospital, Carly is in the cabin. Larry tells Jack that Carly is his wife (Maureen) so Jack won’t worry about anything but getting the novel finished. When Maureen actually shows up, Larry persuades her to pretend to be the imaginary Linda in order to get Jack back to work on the novel. The fact that Jack continues to have conversations with the imaginary Linda (who also seems to join in conversations with others) is only one of many complications that develop.

Chris Lamb, Linda Small, Angela Thompson, and Gian Montesini in rehearsal for The Romantic Imagination.

The Witherspoon Waltz

March - April 2010

How much fun can you have in the hospital? Tons, in the world premiere of the madcap farce by local playwright Michael Messmer, The Witherspoon Waltz. In the style of a Marx Brothers romp, theater producer Hal Stine is desperate to get financial backing for a new show from wealthy widow Mrs. Witherspoon. So desperate, in fact, that he has tracked her to the hospital where she is being treated for unexplained fatigue. When Hal pretends to be a psychiatrist called in to help, his methods distract the doctor, lead to wild chases in a wheelchair, cause everyone to try to hide, and send a waltz spinning out of control. Along the way, we find that Hal is surprisingly caring, the doctor has a few tricks of her own, and Mrs. Witherspoon is nobody’s fool.

Mrs. Witherspoon (Laura Tribbey Lay) leads an imaginary orchestra that startles Hal Stine (Matt Udall, far left), worries Dr. Butz (Shana McCarl, left), and brings Mark (Marc Berman, right) and Cassy (Heidi Kendrick, far right) closer in The Witherspoon Waltz.

Here are a few photos from past seasons when we were located near the Sacramento Inn.
Show titles with an asterisk have a link to a photo.

1998 - 1999


How the Other Half Loves

Not Now, Darling*

The Nerd

Maternal Instincts*

1999 - 2000




The Murder Room*

Maternal Instincts*

2000 - 2001


Come Blow Your Horn*


The Amorous Ambassador*

Under the Yum Yum Tree*


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