‘Widowers’ Houses’ is politically aware

By From page B6 | March 29, 2013

California Stage Theater presents the local premiere of a rare production by George Bernard Shaw.“Widowers’ Houses,” plays March 30 to April 28.

The play begins as a boy meets girl romance, but is soon complicated by economic-class differences.

Blanche Sartorius is the spoiled daughter of a rich realtor whose massive fortune has been made from milking poor renters in his sub-standard houses.

An idealistic young doctor, Harry Trent has blindly courted Blanche until he discovers the declassé source of her father’s wealth. Unfazed but still smitten, Harry asks if the couple could live on his modest income.

Things seem headed for an unhappy ending as Blanche rejects the specter of middle class life.

The characters in this play — including the young lovers — are more pragmatic than heroic,  so Shaw cleverly manages a happy ending with a sharply ironic twist.

”Shaw’s writing in ‘Widowers’ Houses’ is titillating and as politically aware as it was when it was written,” Director Janis Stevens said.

This early work of Shaw not only fulfills his hope to expose the hidden ties between pleasant people who imagine that the sordid dealings of slum-lords do not affect them but it also entertains mightily.

Shaw, with a wink, categorizes this play in his anthology as “Unpleasant.”

The play will star a professional team of actors: Jessica Goldman Laskey as Blanche Sartorious and Loren Taylor as her scurrilous father. Rick Murphy will play Mr. Lickcheese, the family nemesis.

The young lover Dr. Trench will be played by Robert August and the doctors’ no-so-loyal sidekick, Mr. Cokane by Jeffrey Webster.

Blanche’s parlor maid will be played by Sophie Blackburn, the Porter by Joshua Laskey, and the Waiter by Kurt Curtis.

“Widowers’ Houses” will play from March 30 through April 28 in the California Stage Theater at the R25 Arts Complex, 2509 R St. at 25 and R streets in Midtown Sacramento.

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

Ticket prices are $25 for general admission; $20 for military, students, SARTA members and seniors; and $15 for groups of six or more. Easy free parking is available.

There is no late seating.

For ticket reservations call 916-451-5822 or order online at

California Stage

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