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Stepping Out

Bus Barn’s ‘House of Blue Leaves’ runs through May 5

Bus Barn Stage Company last week opened “The House of Blue Leaves, ” a satirical comedy scheduled to run through May 5 in Los Altos.

Directed by Jeanie K. Smith, the production marks Bus Barn’s first foray into the works of awarded-winning American playwright John Guare.

“Leaves” is the story of Artie Shaughnessy, a zookeeper by day who harbors dreams of songwriting fame and glory. Burdened by his wife’s mental illness, his son’s alienating behavior and his girlfriend’s Lady Macbethlike demands, Artie struggles hopelessly to attain his singular desire. From the seedy piano bars to a rundown Queens apartment, his world and its inhabitants – the visiting pope, a trio of zealous nuns, the military police, psych-ward orderlies and eccentric Hollywood personalities – conspire to hold him back.

The play stars Bay Area actors Jeff Swan (as Artie), Pat Tyler (Artie’s wife, Bananas) and Deb Anderson (Artie’s downstairs neighbor and girlfriend, Bunny Flingus). Supporting cast members include Ronald Feichtmeir (Artie and Bananas’ son, Ronnie), Todd Wright (movie producer Billy Einhorn), Brooke Silva (former starlet Corinna Stroller) and Edie Dwan, Lucinda Dobinson and Jessica Yurash as a trio of out-of-control nuns. Scott Stanley and Daniel H. Tookman round out the cast, playing M.P. and the White Man, respectively.

“Leaves” premiered in 1966 at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center in Waterford, Conn. It opened Off-Broadway in 1971 and was revived in a 1986 Off-Broadway production that gave Ben Stiller his professional theater debut as Ronnie. The play returned to Broadway in 2011, with Stiller starring in the lead role of Artie. It won the Obie Award and Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best American Play, and was nominated for and won multiple Tony Awards for its New York productions.

Performances are scheduled 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays, 7:30 p.m. April 24 and May 1, 3 p.m. Sunday and May 5, and 7 p.m. April 28 at Bus Barn Theater, 97 Hillview Ave.

Tickets are $18-$30.

For advance tickets and more information, call 941-0551 or visit www.busbarn.org.

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