Starting in the mid 1960s, Jane Fonda played a series of roles that at once secured her status as a sex symbol and advanced her reputation as a serious actress. No, I’m not thinking of Barbarella (1968), although that was part of it, but rather such films as Barefoot in the Park (1967), They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? (1969), and Klute (1971). Back nearer the beginning of this extraordinary run, there was a little film called Any Wednesday (1966), based on a successful Broadway play by Muriel Resnik about a young woman trapped in a no-strings arrangement with her big-shot New York boss.
It’s not a major American play by any means, but Any Wednesday, which opens at the Circle Bar B Dinner Theatre this Friday, September 21, is a slice of swinging ’60s culture and a perfect fit for the final slot in a season of entertaining genre plays from our area’s long-running and soul-satisfying rancho-style dinner theater. With Leesa Beck in the Fonda role and director Miller James on board to keep things swinging, Any Wednesday is sure to be a delight. I recently spoke with James, and he gave me three great reasons to make the trip out to Refugio for the show. For tickets and info, call (805) 967-1962 or visit circlebarbtheatre.com. The show runs through Sunday, November 4.
1. The Period Details: “It’s dated — there’s no doubt about that — but we’re treating it as a historical piece and celebrating the ’60s with it,” James said. “You don’t have to agree with the morals of the time to enjoy the story or to laugh at the lines.”
2. The Pratfalls: “The whole thing revolves around this apartment, which is the ‘executive suite’ where all the characters end up running into one another,” said James. “That location makes for a lot of hilarious entrances and slapstick, pratfall-type humor.”
3. The Balloons: James said that “when the real romantic interest becomes involved, he’s very sweet to the ingénue, and he does things like fill the room with balloons for her when she ends up in the hospital. These are the kinds of effects that make it such a great, colorful show.”