Wimberley Players Present More Than a Little Magic with a Bell, Book and Candle
"Bell Book and Candle" runs weekends from November 23 to December 9, 2007, at the Playhouse, 450 Old Kyle Road, Wimberley, Texas.

Spells, romance and impish fantasy will be the order of the day when the Wimberley Players open John Van Druten's Bell, Book and Candle, directed by Jenifer Carsrud, on November 23. The story unfolds during the holidays, and although not a 'holiday' show, the mood of the season is reflected in the sparkle of pyrotechnics. Prepare for family-friendly fun!

As a movie, Bell, Book and Candle starred Kim Novak and James Stewart and won a Golden Globe Award in 1958.

Gillian Holyroyd, an art gallery owner, is a lovely modern-day witch. She finds out that publisher Shep Henderson, a neighbor she has admired from afar, is about to marry an old college enemy of hers. Her solution is simple: cast a spell and force him to dump his fiancée and fall in love with Gillian. Oops, the problem is that those who cast spells can't fall in love themselves.

The plot thickens when an author, Redlitch, comes to town to research supernatural powers for a new book and Shep wants to meet him. That could be trouble for Gillian. Playgoers who have grown up with the television comedy "Bewitched" will recognize dilemmas like this one. Fortunately, things have a magical way of working out.

Along the way, Director Carsrud has cast the male character Nicky as a female to showcase the three cycles of womanhood: Nicky, a vibrant young vixen, Gillian the nurturing adult and Queenie the crone, now a beloved older female. "The trio of maid/mother/crone," says Carsrud, "comes from Celtic lore. The idea is that each of these women owns colors of the rainbow representative of the particular stage she is in."

Carsrud holds a BA in Drama and an MFA in Directing from the University of Houston. She was an actress, costumer and stage manager for Houston-area theaters before moving into directing. She has directed Austin's Frontera Fest since moving to Austin in 2005, and teaches acting. Jana White is the show's producer.

The role of Gillian will be played by Katie Meehan, former Artistic Director of Coda Theatre Project and former Managing Director of the Austin Commedia Society and a frequent performer on Austin stages. Chris Higgins, who appeared as Joshua Bradley in the Players' Bright Ideas and as Thomas Jefferson in 1776, plays Shep. Nathan Villarreal, most recently Sancho Panza in Man of La Mancha, will play Redlitch. Nicky is portrayed by Rebecca Ferguson, a senior in Communication Studies at the University of Texas who played Antonia in Man of La Mancha. Judith Laird plays Queenie. A frequent Players actor and director, she was seen this summer as Madame Acarti in Blithe Spirit.

"Be warned," says Carsrud. "The magic of this production will take hold of you and remind you how loving someone can truly make us feel human."

Bell, Book and Candle will run weekends from November 23 to December 9 at the Playhouse, 450 Old Kyle Road. Performances are 8:00 on Fridays and Saturdays and 2:30 on Sundays. The opening night reception, November 23, will begin at 7:00 p.m. with wine and hors d'oeuvres in the lobby. An after-show reception follows the performance.

Tickets are $15 except Opening Night, $20.  Tickets are available at the theatre box office Monday through Friday from 1 to 5.

-- Jane Dunham --