George and Gracie: Part 2 – Review by Bonnie Goldberg

Are you into nostalgia? Do you welcome a gentler, kinder world? Do you love a good guffaw, laugh and giggle? Well, do I have an evening’s entertainment for you. Seven Angels Theatre in Waterbury wants you to sit back in their new audience seats for a friendly visit with that special comedy duo, beloved for forty years in Vaudeville, film, radio and television George Burns and Gracie Allen.

A second edition to “George and Gracie: The Early Years,” this new version is “George and Gracie: Part II” and will feature R. Bruce Connelly as the cigar smoking straight man and the theatre’s Artistic Director Semina De Laurentis as his zany and hilarious wife, playing until Sunday, February 24. They are perfectly suited the parts and play George and Gracie in delightful style.

In a series of vignettes, we meet the couple with their best friends and next door neighbors Blanche (Sarah Knapp) and Harry Morton (John Swanson), George’s business associate (Tom Chute) and their son Ronny (Reid Sinclair). In the process, they also encounter a series of comic characters all portrayed by Josh Powell, Anna Laura Strider, and Ben McCormack.

When Blanche has a disturbing dream five nights in a row, it’s Gracie who goes to the psychiatrist to determine what it means. When Harry’s college alma mater comes to town to play in a big football game, it’s Gracie who gets arrested for selling the four extra tickets. The arrival of Blanche’s mother causes Gracie to hide her in her house so Harry does not see her and it’s George who gives son Ronny advice on how to woo and win the girl of his dreams, an exchange student from France.

It’s only when Gracie exaggerates a story about their life for Look Magazine, that sets off a visit from that dangerous bank robber Silky Thompson, that the comic complications totally get out of control. The evening ends with a vaudeville show by the entire cast, “I Love Her, That’s Why” that harkens back to their earlier days on the show business circuit. Julia Kiley directs this sweetheart of a show that is guaranteed to make you smile with happy memories.

For tickets ($42-49.50), call Seven Angels Theatre, ! Plank Road, Waterbury at 203-757-4676 or online at www.SevenAngelsTheatre.org. Performances are Thursday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Also watch for “’Til Death Do Us Part…You First!” by Peter Fogel, an eternal bachelor who makes true confessions about marriage, sex and other things on Saturday, March 2 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, March 3 at 2 p.m.

Come revisit this beloved couple from an earlier era and relive the fun and joy that Grace Ethel Cecile Rosalie Allen and her partner Nathan Birnbaum brought to the world.

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