A new production of “Jack and Jill” at Santa Monica Playhouse reunites a trio of artists who achieved critical acclaim and popular success with their previous collaboration, a mounting of “The Rainmaker” in 2013 that ran for nearly a year and was hailed by a number of publications, among them the Los Angeles Times, which designated it a Critic’s Choice, and L.A. Weekly. Director Jack Heller reteams with his stars Tanna Frederick and Robert Standley in the very modern romance, “Jack and Jill.”
Jack and Jill are two very different people. Jack’s eyes light upon Jill one day, as she reads a book of poems by Sylvia Plath. He is immediately drawn to her and begins to pursue her. He is a professional “imagist,” she’s a medical student. Both have previous romantic baggage. There’s no special reason they should fall for each other, but fall they do, as “Jack and Jill” follows the couple through courtship, marriage, disillusionment, and perhaps, finally, hope.
Can love endure when the road is so fraught with obstacles? Jack and Jill will have to realize how vital they are to each other. Then again, true love has always been worth the effort.
The famously pseudonymous Jane Martin is the playwright of “Jack and Jill,” which debuted in 1996. One prevailing theory is that Martin is a collaboration between designer Marcia Dixcy and her spouse, director Jon Jory, who directs all of Martin’s plays. Martin’s other works include Keely and Du, Talking With…., Vital Signs, Laura’s Bush, and 42 more.
Tanna Frederick stars as Jill. Her stage credits include “Train to Zakopane,” “Just 45 Minutes From Broadway,” “Sylvia,” “Always…But Not Forever,” “A Safe Place,” “Dutchman,” “The Rainmaker” and more. Known as a queen of indie films, her screen credits include the upcoming “Ovation,” “The M Word,” “Irene in Time,” “Just 45 Minutes From Broadway,” “Hollywood Dreams,” “Queen of the Lot,” and more.
Robert Standley stars as Jack. He won an Ovation Award for his performance in “Barbarians” and Outer Critics Circle Awards for his roles in “A Streetcar Named Desire” and “Picnic.” Other stage turns include “Post Office” (at the Kirk Douglas) and national tours of “Cotton Patch Gospel,” “According to Coyote,” and “The Rainmaker.” He’s familiar to television audiences from stints on “Invasion,” “Melrose Place,” “Breaking Through,” and “All My Children.”
Jack Heller directs. He has helmed more than 60 productions in the U.S. and Canada, and also television. Also an acclaimed actor, he appeared on “Broadway in Luv,” locally in “Tennessee in the Summer,” in the film “Queen of the Lot,” and both the stage and screen versions of “Just 45 Minutes From Broadway.”
Stage manager: Donald Vennes. Lighting design: Donny Jackson. Sound design/ Projections: Fritz Davis. Costume design: Fangyuan Liu. Make-Up: Ana Gutierrez Cruz.
“Jack and Jill” celebrates romance, and is perfect entertainment for those who are in love, those who have been in love, and those who still hope to be in love.
Where: Santa Monica Playhouse, on the Main stage, 1211 Fourth St., Santa Monica.
When: Jan. 8- Feb. 28, 2016. Friday and Saturday at 8 pm, Sunday at 3 pm.
Admission: Friday and Saturday $25, Sunday $20.
Online Tickets: Plays411.com
Estimated Run Time: 90 minutes, plus intermission.