Colorful characters highlight performance

John DeCarlo (left) and Lynnia Shanley are among the stars of the romantic comedy “Italian American Reconciliation,” running through Feb. 16 at Scripps Ranch Theatre. (photo by Ken Jacques)

Colorful characters highlight performance

Friendship, family, and the trials and tribulations of romantic entanglements set the stage for a night of laughs when Scripps Ranch Theatre (SRT) presents the romantic comedy “Italian American Reconciliation,” now through Feb. 16 at Scripps Ranch Theatre on the campus of Alliant International University, 9783 Avenue of Nations.

Written by the award-winning John Patrick Shanley in 1988, “Reconciliation” tells the story of Huey, divorced from the shrewish Janice, who shot his dog and even took a bead on him.

Huey feels he must woo Janice one more time, if only to regain his “manhood” and move on in his life. He enlists his lifelong friend, Aldo, to help, even though Aldo thinks Huey should stick with his new lady friend Teresa, a usually calm person who gets fired up once she learns what Huey is up to.

“It all takes place in Little Italy in New York and it’s full of very colorful characters and colorful language,” director Charles Peters said while talking about the show before its opening. “Although there’s no foul language!”

Playwright Shanley wrote the 1998 movie “Moonstruck,” winning an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. Peters said the story of “Reconciliation” is different from that movie, but people who enjoyed the film will likely also enjoy the play.

“The feel of it and the elements and the relationship ideas are in there,” Peters said. “That’s really what ultimately this show is about.”

As part of the committee that selects what plays SRT produces, Peters said he was impressed with the play’s personalities and the dialogue.

“I read it and was struck with the language and the characters and the way they spoke and communicated deep ideas,” he said. “These characters are – in their own way – very eloquent and very romantic and very poetic and they talk about these deep emotional subjects but in a very entertaining way. I was struck by the strength of the characters and the simplicity of the story.”

The play includes a balcony scene humorously reminiscent of Cyrano de Bergerac.

“It’s an entertaining story, it’s nothing hard and heavy,” Peters said. “(Audiences) are going to have fun and the cast is fun to watch and the dialogue is witty and entertaining.”

In the play, Marco Kengott, plays “Huey,” SRT newcomer Lynnia Shanley plays “Janice,” Gina Maria Cioffi plays “Teresa,” John DeCarlo plays “Aldo” and Rhiannon McAfee plays “Aunt May.”

“All the actors are tremendously talented,” Peters said. “And, as it turns out, a good handful of them are Italian.”

Scripps Ranch Theatre is on the campus of Alliant International University, 9783 Avenue of Nations. “Italian American Reconciliation” is playing now through Feb. 16, with showings Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. To reserve seats, call (858) 578-7728. For ticket price information, visit scrippsranchtheatre.org.

Actors Gina Marie Cioffi (left) and Marco Kengott enjoy a moment in “Italian American Reconciliation,” playing at Scripps Ranch Theatre. (photo by Ken Jacques)
John DeCarlo (Aldo) and Lynnia Shanley (Janice) during the balcony scene in “Italian American Reconcilation.” (photo by Ken Jacques)
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