Article Description

Article Date 2/23/2018

Title PTAG Presents "The Champagne Charlie Stakes"


   Pop the cork and come celebrate the Punxsutawney Theatre Arts Guild’s 43rd season with a trio of shows sure to delight. It all kicks off with a poignant comedy by playwright Bruce Graham. It offers both a dose of comedy alongside a serving of heartfelt drama in a story you won’t soon forget.

    The official description states - It's a very special day at the racetrack, where "Champagne" Charlie, a race-track regular, has had a race named in his honor. A dreamer and teller of tall tales, Charlie is accompanied by his wife of fifty-three years, Mary Lee, an incurable romantic, who still finds Charlie very attractive. They are accompanied by Jackie, a family friend and race track bookie, and their daughter, Mary, a divorced high-school drama teacher, and the realist in the family who has nervously invited along her long-time boyfriend, Paul, to finally meet her parents. Since this is such a special day, Charlie conspires with Jackie to place the bet of his life—his entire meager savings ("the whole she-bang")—on a long-shot hunch.

 And their off! You will see that the set takes you off to the horse races on Memorial Day 1990. Overlooking the track is a nice picnic area that Charlie & family have settled onto complete with a cooler of beverages for the day. Hmm, can you guess the beverage of choice? They spend the day betting the horses waiting for the sixth race. That’s the race named in Charlie’s honor and there is a lot riding on their chosen horse. The question is should Charlie have bet "the whole she-bang?" How much does he stand to lose? How much might he win? Therein lies the story.

   Though Mary is warm over the memories of her parents bringing her to the racetrack all her life she is a bit concerned that her parents shouldn’t be squandering their money and that they have more important uses for it in their older years, like taking care of their health. A few heated discussions with her Mom, makes that clear. But Mary Lee won’t hear of it.

And Charlie is oblivious. He is just living the high life because everyone loves him down at the tracks. He is placing bets with Jackie right and left and showing racing novice Paul all the ins & outs.  

   Making sure this story gets told right is Guild director Kathy S. Dinsmore. She has assembled a cast that will offer detailed characters that will draw on every emotion to give an enjoyable show. Bob Starzenski returns to the Guild stage as the man of the hour - witty “Champagne Charlie.”  His wife, Mary Lee has Kathy in the role and their daughter is played by Debra Dinsmore.  These three easily show the love of this family and all the fun they have, even when they are sweating out the big bet. Also appearing his Tony Simmons with a splash of wise-ass humor as Jackie, a shady but fun guy. And  Tim Cooper personifies Paul, a character who brings his own issues to the forefront. Will he fit into the family? 

   You won’t know if they will see a big payday unless you come see  The Champagne Charlie Stakes.  Performance dates will be March 2, 3, 9, & 10 at 7:30pm and March 11 at 2:00pm.