A musty antique shop is not a place you'd expect to find wacky comedic patrons, romance, and an attempted assassination. But maybe it makes more sense if the hired hit man is a bumbling, conflicted first-timer, who is actually a hit woman. That's the premise of the romantic comedy, "The Hit," receiving its Arizona debut at Hale Center Theater, now through February 9th.
The story centers around a brother and sister who run a small antiques shop. Susan (Amie Bjorklund) and her younger brother Steve (Brett Etzel) took over the cluttered shop after their mother died from cancer. Now Susan has been given a similar diagnosis but hasn't told anyone. She has decided that rather than suffering and putting her brother through the pain again, she will hire a hit man to put a quick end to things. Things start to get a little crazy, when Susan meets, and starts falling for, the adorable Sam Gunderson (Matthew Cary). Sam is a widower who is just getting back to the dating scene, if a bit awkwardly, but still seems to be the perfect match for Susan, except that she still has a hit coming. And that's just the start of the antics.
The Hit is a light-hearted romantic comedy that hosts a vast array of characters (played by two actors: Katie Cook and Nathaniel Luis) that are included just to highlight some of the zanier people you might meet at an antiques shop (like the Minnesota mom or the silent-touch-everything type). There's also some action and everything is topped off with a message of living life to the fullest.
"In an impressive move, our creative management has selected an unknown play by a unknown playwright. But that's the indication of confidence that this lighthearted romp will tickle your funny bone and fully entertain Hale theatergoers," Marketing Director Daniel Sontag explains.
"We want to mix in the new with the tried-and-true, and we're always looking for new entertaining pieces that people may not be familiar with," Hale owner David Dietlein says. "We feel this Romantic-comedy thriller is right up our patrons alley."
The Hit was recommended to the Hale's owners by managers of Hale's sister companies in Glendale, Calif., and Orem, Utah, after viewing its first staging in San Diego. The first production of The Hit was performed by Lamb's Players Theatre, who has a notable reputation for producing world premieres, with more than 40 new productions to its credit.
The response to The Hit from its California debut had an overwhelming positive effect on critics. One reviewer called it "a far-fetched frivolity spiked with lots of laughs," while another wrote, "As suspense and gunplay go, The Hit is a bang-bang bonbon, like Hitchcock on helium."
The show runs December 29th to February 9th. Show dates are Wednesday through Saturday with weekday show times at 7:00PM, and weekend show times at 7:30PM with 3:00PM Saturday matinees. Prices are $10 for children(ages 6-18), $24 for adults. Reservations may be made by calling the box office at (480) 497-1181 or by visiting the website at www.HaleTheatreArizona.com. Hale Centre Theatre is located in Gilbert at 50 West Page Avenue.