‘The Year of Magical Thinking’ coming to Sacramento

By September 18, 2012

SACRAMENTO — The California Stage Theater Company announces the production of “The Year of Magical Thinking” by Sacramento-born novelist Joan Didion.

This is a stage adaptation of her distinguished memoir on the untimely deaths of her husband, writer John Gregory Dunne and their daughter, Quintana Dunne Michael. Her book won the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize.

Dunne was talking about either World War I or the Scotch he was drinking, she remembers, when he suddenly slumped over. Didion thought he was making a joke about being dead-tired after their difficult day, but he was having a fatal heart attack.

Didion’s script is poetic in its bluntness, its seeming detachment, and its unavoidable truth.

This one person play is about how she dealt with the deaths of her husband and daughter within a few months and how she managed to persevere in the midst of crushing grief.

Director Ray Tatar said, “Although the main focus of this play is on Didion’s struggle with grief, it does not mean there aren’t any laughs. Her experience includes odd flashes of humor and insight such as when her own magical thinking tells her, she cannot give away her husbands shoes, because he would need them when he returned.”

The production will star Drama Desk Award Nominee Janis Stevens, a member of Actors Equity who has been seen at California Stage as Hester in “By the Bog of Cats,” in the title role of “Becoming Julia Morgan” for which she won an Elly Award for Best Dramatic Actress. She also played Vivien Leigh in “Vivien” for which she received a 2006 Drama Desk nomination for Outstanding Solo Performance for the Off-off Broadway production.

“The Year of Magical Thinking” plays from Friday, Oct. 26 through Sunday, Nov. 25 in the Dennis Wilkerson Theater, at the R25 Arts Complex, 1721 25th St. in Sacramento.

Show times are Thursdays at 7 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $25 for general admission, $20 for military, students, SARTA members and seniors, and $15 for groups of six or more. Free parking available. There is no late seating.

To make reservations call 916-451-5822 or order online at

California Stage

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