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Theater group seeks to entertain

By: Eileen Wilson Telegraph Correspondent
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The work on historic Sutter Street is finished, but the work inside Sutter Street Theatre has just begun. In the midst of a season filled with classics, comedies, mysteries and more, two new shows have opened — fun-filled comedies with character. “You Can’t Take It With You,” a Pulitzer winner from the 1930s, deals with an age-old dilemma: Boy meets girl — both sets of parents are adamantly opposed to the union. “It’s about a wonderful family — they’re crazy, but you absolutely love them when you see them,” said Connie Mockenhaupt, artistic director and CEO of the non-profit theater. Hilarity and romance ensue, in spite of two sets of parents who couldn’t be more different. Mockenhaupt knows theater inside and out, one of the many reasons the theater garnered the highest number of Elly Award nominations and wins in 2009. Classically trained, Mockenhaupt holds degrees in music, dance and drama, and has performed and taught in numerous venues, including starting the Natomas Performing and Fine Arts Charter School. The company’s Young People Series includes “Dorothy Meets Alice or the Wizard of Wonderland,” a comedy that is based loosely on Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” and L. Frank Baum’s “The Wizard of Oz.” While the shows may teach valuable lessons, and the Young People’s Series may encourage children to pick up a new book, the theater’s goal is to make sure audiences have fun. “Our shows are exceedingly entertaining,” said Mike Jimena, director of “Dorothy Meets Alice.” “A lot of time and detail went into the show. We’re a very intimate theater, and our performances are high quality. We don’t want to change the world, we just want to entertain it.” Jimena said Sutter Street Theatre attracts the highest caliber local performers, and the lighting and technical aspects of the theater are top notch as well. “You’re going to come to the show and leave feeling a lot better than when you came in,” he said. Upcoming shows include “Forbidden Broadway” — a cabaret revue spoofing show tunes which will play on Thursdays this summer. * * * CURRENT SHOWS “You Can’t Take It With You” 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 4 p.m. Sunday, through June 5 Tickets: $23 general, $21 SARTA and seniors, $18 students, $15 children “Dorothy Meets Alice or The Wizard of Wonderland” 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, through June 12 Tickets: $17 general, $15 SARTA and seniors, $13 children Where: Sutter Street Theatre, 717 Sutter St., Folsom Information: (916) 353-1001, sutterstreettheatre.com * * * 2011 Season Off Broadway: “The Kids Left, the Dog Died Now What,” June and July “The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940,” July and August “Cabaret,” September and October Agatha Christie’s “Witness for the Prosecution,” October and November “Holiday in the Hills,” December Young People’s Series: “Narnia,” September and October “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” October and November “The Magic Toyshop,” December