By GERMANE HUPE/Special to the Express
The Winters Theatre Company’s spring production of “Heaven Can Wait,” opens its nine-performance run this Friday, March 9, at the Winters Community Center with a Champagne Gala evening. The play has been a Broadway hit and has enjoyed critical acclaim in two film versions that received 14 Oscar nominations.
The play is technically termed a comedy-fantasy and admirably fulfills the description. The fantasy element concerns heavenly messengers who return to Earth to help the recently deceased prize fighter Joe Pendleton find a new body. The search is necessary since Joe’s grieving manager had Joe cremated. It seems an overzealous celestial rookie made a serious mistake and sent Joe to the Hereafter 60 years before his life was scheduled to end.
The comedy element occurs when Mr. Jordan, the chief heavenly bureaucrat, puts Joe’s soul and spirit into the body of millionaire tycoon Leo Farnsworth. The audience sees Joe as the streetwise Jersey boxer but the characters with whom Joe must deal see him as the Oxford educated Farnsworth.
The hilarity increases when Joe chats with Mr. Jordan and Messenger 7013 who are invisible to all but the fighter and the audience. To add to the complication, Farnsworth’s cheating wife and her lover, Farnsworth’s secretary, are planning to murder the financier for his millions. If they succeed, Joe is once again in search of a body and the angel record keepers are in search of a miracle.
Ticket prices for the Gala Opening this Friday, March 9, are $15 for everyone; the price includes cheesecake and champagne, as well as coffee and other non-alcoholic beverage selections.
The Saturday, March 10, show will be a benefit for Celebration Arts, an African-American community theatre group that has been performing for more than 30 years in Sacramento. Celebration Arts recently lost their lease, and they are raising funds for their new location in Sacramento at the former B Street Children’s Theatre. For the March 10 benefit show only, all tickets will be $20; this price includes dessert and non-alcoholic beverages.
Ticket prices for the remaining shows are $12 for general admission, $10 for seniors, and $8 for children 12 and under.