Theater: Coastal Rep goes ‘Over the Tavern’

The year is 1959, the Eisenhower era, a time of relative innocence, of youth and discovery. That’s the setting of the comedy “Over the Tavern,” being presented by Coastal Repertory Theatre in Half Moon Bay through March 1.

Tom Dudzick, who was born in Buffalo, N.Y., in 1950 and did live over a tavern, fictionalizes his own life’s story in the show; a witty, sentimental look at love, religion and family through the insights of a unique boy.

“Over the Tavern” is about the Pazinski family, with its children, Rudy, Eddie, Georgie and Annie. They have a lot going on in their cramped Buffalo apartment. The youngest child, 12-year-old Rudy, is a smart, wise-cracking kid who’s starting to question family values and the Roman Catholic Church. His parents try to maintain a bit of normalcy in their Polish-Catholic household.

Benjamin Barsocchini, 12, a student at Seacrest School in Half Moon Bay who started acting when he was in first grade, plays Rudy.

Benjamin says, “Rudy is very innocent with a devilish touch thrown in. He is not afraid to speak his mind. Starting to question his faith, he presents some very imaginative ideas. Like Rudy, I also try to come up with new ideas, thinking outside the box. And I am very close to my family, like this character.”

Director Roxane Ashe fell in love with the show’s slice of Americana. She says, “There is an innocence aboutthis time and place that is so removed from the world today. Yet some of the same issues confront us including growing up, coming of age and religion.”

The theater is at 1167 Main St. Tickets are $15 to $30. Call (650) 569-3266 or visit www.coastalrep.com.

COOL COLLABORATION

Jacques Offenbach’s first classical full-length operetta, “Orpheus in the Underworld” — a sendup of the Greek legend — will be presented by Pocket Opera and Notre Dame de Namur University Department of Music and Vocal Arts at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 22 and 23.

The work, an 1858 Parisian satire of celebrities facing the whims of public opinion, marks the first time Offenbach used Greek mythology as a backdrop. The show turns upside down the story of Orpheus, who journeys to the underworld in pursuit of his wife, Eurydice, who has been captured by Pluto and taken to Hades.

Characters include nymphs, gods, goddesses and shepherds; the show culminates with the risqué “Can-can” that shocked the audience at the premiere.

The performance is in English, narrated by Pocket Opera’s inimitable director Donald Pippin and accompanied by the Pocket Philharmonic. The unique production is a collaboration in which NDNU students rehearse and perform in a true apprenticeship with Pocket Opera’s professionals.

The theater is at 1500 Ralston Ave., Belmont. Tickets are $10 to $20. Call (650) 508-3729 or visit concerts@ndnu.edu.

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