Actresses order up Broadway finesse for ‘Mystic Pizza’

Actresses order up Broadway finesse for ‘Mystic Pizza’

Actresses order up Broadway finesse for ‘Mystic Pizza’
Gianna Yanelli, left, Kyra Kennedy, Krystina Alabado and Rayanne Gonzales appear in one of the many high-energy musical numbers in Center Rep’s “Mystic Pizza,” playing through Feb. 25 in Walnut Creek. (Nile Scott photo)

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY, CA (Feb. 16, 2024) — If pizza is your dish, you can get your fill as Center Repertory continues its production of “Mystic Pizza” through Feb. 25 at the Lesher Center.

Adapted for stage by Sandy Rustin, the new musical follows the lives of three working-class young women the summer after their high school graduation. While serving up pizza at a local restaurant in the town of Mystic, Conn., the three share their hopes, dreams and plans for escaping their small town as well as their fondness for big hair, neon colors and shoulder pads.

The show features Krystina Alabado as the sexy Daisy, Gianna Yanelli as the wisecracking JoJo and Kyra Kennedy as Daisy’s sensible sister. All three have extensive Broadway credits.

The Lesher Center is at 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek. Call 925-943-7469 or go to for tickets.

Comedy, murder and mystery

Kevin Coren, left, Nathalie Archangel, Chip Renner and Peggy Scalise star in Clayton Theatre’s “But Why Bump Off Barnaby,” opening March 8.

Clayton Theatre Company’s production of “But Why Bump Off Barnaby” includes the show’s main premise right in the title.

The comedic murder mystery revolves around Barnaby Folcey, who is murdered at a family gathering. It appears Folcey had a reason to kill everyone else, but no one seemingly had a reason to murder him. Meanwhile, there’s a secret treasure to be found, a limerick to decode and all sorts of mishaps to be avoided before the killer is finally unmasked.

Director La Tonya Watts has the difficult task of moving around a large cast on Endeavor Hall’s small stage. Her potential murderers include Nathalie Archangel, James Bradley Jr., Kevin Coren, Bill Dietz, Teresa Grosserode, Deborah Huaco, Megan Larsen, Maya Rath, Chip Renner and Peggy Scalise.

“But Why Bump Off Barnaby” plays March 8-17 at 6008 Center St., Clayton. Election season has impacted the theater company, with primary elections scheduled at the city-owned space. To accommodate the elections, the troupe can only run the play for two weeks instead of its usual three. But producer Roxanne Pardi has added a Thursday evening show and two shows on the first Sunday.

For tickets, call 925-334-0880 or go to

Pittsburg Theatre company struggling

Sam Leeper, left, plays Stanley with Michele Morgen as Blanche and Mary Katherine Patterson as Stella in Pittsburg Theatre Company’s production of “A Streetcar Named Desire,” opening Feb 23. (Sara Leyva Mindful Photography)

While Pittsburg Theatre Company readies its production of “Streetcar Named Desire” for Feb. 23-March 3, its board of directors faces a challenge as difficult as that of Blanche DuBois, the lead character in Tennessee Williams’ drama.

The group recently sent out an email saying the company is solvent through March 2024, but beyond that date “our survival is in peril.” To donate to the company or to reserve tickets to “Streetcar Named Desire,” call 925-439-7529 or go to The production will take place at the California Theatre, 351 Railroad Ave., Pittsburg.

The music of France

Town Hall Theatre brings the French café music scene to Lafayette at 2 p.m. Feb. 25 with the appearance of Parisian singer Mimi Pirard.

The accomplished chartreus will transport you to mid-1900s France with songs from such iconic musicians as Edith Piaf, Yves Montand, Jacques Brel, Charles Trenet, Georges Brassens, Serge Gainsbourg and many others.

SonoMusette accompanies Pirard, weaving a tapestry of sounds to evoke the provocative and melancholic music of mid-century Paris.

The theater is at 3535 School St. VIP tickets include a glass of rosé from Loire Valley and light bites from Rêve Bistro. Go to for reservations.

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Sally Hogarty
Sally Hogarty

Sally Hogarty is well known around the Bay Area as a newspaper columnist, theatre critic and working actress. She is the editor of the Orinda News. Send comments to