Acrosstown presents ‘Star-Spangled Girl’

Neil Simon’s “The Star-Spangled Girl” features, from left, Will Winter as Andy, Norma Berger as Sophie and Tim Stevens as Norman starting Friday at the Acrosstown Repertory Theatre. (Brett Le Blanc/Correspondent)

Published: Thursday, January 17, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 2:05 p.m.

It’s a tale as old as time: boy meets girl. Boy falls in love with girl. Girl falls for boy’s best friend instead.


‘The Star-Spangled Girl’

What: Neil Simon’s romantic comedy about two underground magazine publishers and the flag-waving girl who moves in above them
When: Opens Friday with a preview performance at 8 p.m. today, showtimes are 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays through Feb. 3
Where: Acrosstown Repertory Theatre, 619 S. Main St.
Tickets: $12, $10 students, seniors, educators and military personnel; admission to tonight’s preview is a suggested donation of $5
Info: 505-868,

The Acrosstown Repertory Theatre pays homage to the archetype that is the love triangle with its production of Neil Simon’s romantic comedy “The Star-Spangled Girl,” opening Friday.

Director Terry Beauchamp says the play, which takes place in the politically-charged 1960s, is at its core a lesson about romantic chemistry.

“You can’t manufacture it,” she says. “Love can be silly. It makes you silly and it makes you act in ways you wouldn’t normally act.”

Tim Stevens plays Norman, a subversive magazine publisher in San Francisco who falls in love with his flag-waving neighbor Sophie. He says Neil Simon, famous for his play-turned-film “The Odd Couple,” skillfully crafts the relationship among the three characters.

“I like the way the triangle is developed — slowly but surely,” he says. “The audience will anticipate it but will still be surprised.”

The play, which opened on Broadway in 1966, was made into a film version featuring a performance from Davy Jones in the opening credits.

Beauchamp says in addition to Simon’s expert comedic dialogue, she was attracted to “The Star-Spangled Girl” because of the tumultuous era in which it takes place.

“It runs parallel to the time period now,” she says. “It was bifurcated then in the ’60s, and it’s divided now.”

She says this production differs from much of what the volunteer-driven theater usually hosts. This year’s season also include “Tambourines to Glory,” an African-American gospel musical from Langston Hughes, in March and “Outburst,” a play about a Kansas high school teacher who accidentally “outs” himself in class, in May.

“We usually do shows with an edge,” she says. “We do the plays that will make people think about the issues.”

In “The Star-Spangled Girl,” Will Winter plays Andy, the object of his patriotic neighbor’s affection. He says this play highlights the cultural struggles of the ’60s, which he says were fought across generations and even among neighbors.

“This play makes that struggle real and believable for the audience. It brings that time period to a human level,” he says. “It will be good entertainment, and a night to think about those issues. But we’ll deal with them with humor, and in a human way.”

“The Star-Spangled Girl” opens Friday and runs through Feb. 3 at the Acrosstown Repertory Theatre, 619 S. Main St., with performances beginning at 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and 2 p.m. on Sundays. Talkbacks featuring discussion with the cast and with Vietnam veterans will be held after the Jan. 20 and Jan. 27 performances. Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for children over 5, students, seniors, military and educators. A preview performance is set for 8 p.m. today with a suggested donation of $5 for admission. For more information, call the theater at 505-0868.

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