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THEATER | NOTES

A Pitch for Love

'New York Mets' explores misguided romance, passion and denial.

January 29, 1998|ROBIN RAUZI | TIMES STAFF WRITER

After a three-month delay while "American Romance" extended its run, "New York Mets" is ready to step up to the plate at the Road Theatre.

Director and Road board member Scott Smith first saw the play in Washington, D.C., where it won the Helen Hayes award for best new play. "I went to see it three times, I was so drawn to the characters and the situation," Smith said.

He has been running readings, workshops and rehearsals at the Road for about two years, and two of the cast members have been involved the whole time. The rest of the cast comes from the Road company.

The play's action all takes place one Friday in 1986 at Phil's Typewriter Repair and Manuscript shop on New York's Lower East Side. Phil has decided to marry Rosie the typist--never mind that customer Ernie thinks she's a lesbian. But then, Ernie has his own ideas about Phil.

"Mets" plays like a screwball comedy, Smith said, but beneath that surface is a huge iceberg of passion and denial. "One of the things he [Phil] does is destroy the truth by killing all the messengers," Smith said. "The extremes that love drives us toward and the danger of hiding who you really are from yourself is what runs through this play."

* "New York Mets," the Road Theatre Company, 5108 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood. Opens Friday. Friday-Saturday, 8 p.m.; Sunday, 7 p.m. Ends March 8. $15. (213) 660-8587.

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Colony Update: The Colony Studio Theatre and the city of Burbank have had to scale back their plans for a new theater in the Media City Shopping Center because the bids from contractors came in too high.

Mary Alvord, Burbank's director of parks and recreation, said the city had earmarked $750,000 in community redevelopment funds for the project--but the bids were closer to $1.4 million. In February they will resubmit the plans, this time without an exterior box office, a second theater space or a concession area.

They are forgoing those amenities to maintain the integrity of the main theater, which can hold up to 279 seats. That should be plenty to meet the busting-at-the-seams subscriber base that the Colony now enjoys in Silver Lake.

The Colony will operate the space, but the theater will also be used by local groups, such as the Burbank Civic Light Opera.

Alvord said they hope to complete the project, which is in the space that used to house a branch of the county's Natural History Museum, for $1 million.

"I think we're more committed to this as a team than before [the bids], just because we all believe that we can make it happen," Alvord said.

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Non-Equity Roundup: Just in time for tax season, the Stage Door Theatre opened "Love, Sex and the IRS," a comedy about two men who share a bachelor apartment--only one has been writing the other off as his dependent, claiming that "Leslie" is his wife. It runs through March 7. (Stage Door, 28311 Agoura Road, Agoura Hills; [818] 889-5209.)

The Glendale Centre Theatre continues the popular Neil Simon comedy "Barefoot in the Park" through Valentine's Day (324 N. Orange St., Glendale. [818] 244-8481).

The Granada Theatre starts its 1998 season off with "Arsenic and Old Lace"--an interesting choice for dinner theater. It opens Friday and runs through March 22.

And on Feb. 6, the Woodland Hills Theatre opens "Black Coffee," an Agatha Christie mystery unavailable in the U.S. for many years. (22700 Sherman Way, West Hills; [818] 884-1907.)

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