This wacky 1940 William Saroyan comedy celebrates the Fresno writer’s centennial year. In Depression-era Bakersfield, spinster Ann Hamilton (McKerrin Kelly) lives alone with her roses and the stone lion in her front yard, till her life is turned inside out by a string of bizarre visitors: an incorrigibly romantic Western Union messenger (Michael Heshel); a loquacious medicine-show con-man (Steve Marvel) who pretends he’s been in love with her for 27 years; and the Yearling Clan, a family of Okies fleeing the dust bowl: father Cabot (Joel Schumaker), his prodigiously pregnant wife (Jennifer Pennington) and their 11 assorted children. They invade Ann’s home, wreck it, and eventually burn it down, but only after the visit of a loony Time magazine subscription peddler (Shawn MacAulay), a pompous WPA novelist (Daniel Campagna) and a Life magazine photographer (Lauren Dunagan). In Act 2, everybody winds up at the home of former Greek wrestling champ Stylianos Americanos (Chris Damiano). In an agreeably sappy finale, love conquers all, the Yearlings join the medicine show and, presumably, everybody lives happily ever after. Director Martin Bedoian expertly deploys his huge and able cast through the whimsical hilarity, and Jeff Rack provides two handsome sets.
Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Starts: Oct. 17. Continues through Nov. 22, 2008
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