When playwright Tom Dudzick was growing up in Buffalo, N.Y., in the 1950s, one local landmark was a 20-foot shrine for the Blessed Virgin, beside a small barbershop. According to local legend, the shrine was erected by the barber after the Blessed Mother appeared in his shop one Christmas Eve. Dudzick latched onto the story and used it as the basis for this fictionalized account. The barber's daughter, Clara Nowak (Ellen Crawford), is still, 65 years later, the keeper of the shrine. A devout Catholic (she's appalled by the notion that Jesus might actually have been Jewish), she has turned her three grown children into shills to attract visitors — and contributions — to the shrine. But they're growing restive. Garbage collector Jimmy (Brian Ibsen) secretly has a Jewish girlfriend. Ketchup bottler Beverly (Meghan Andrews) is more interested in bowling. Would-be actress Ruth (Karianne Flaathen) is creating a one-woman show based on the inside story behind the family legend. But her revelations transform the legend — and the family. Dudzick has written a slick, funny comedy, Brian Shnipper directs it with panache and the skillful actors expertly mine the comic possibilities. Colony Theatre, 555 N. Third St., Burbank; Thurs.-Fri., 8 p.m., Sat., 3 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m. (no perfs Nov. 28-Dec. 1); through Dec. 16. (818) 558-7000, colonytheatre.org.

Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m.; Saturdays, 3 p.m. Starts: Nov. 9. Continues through Dec. 16, 2013

LA Weekly