When did “a bundle of joy” turn into “a bundle of trouble?” The answer is currently onstage at the Glendale Centre Theatre. BUNDLE OF TROUBLE was written by Ruth Hale, one of the original owners of the theater almost seventy years ago. Today, the Glendale Centre Theatre holds up to 450 audience members, but that wasn’t always the case for America’s longest running theatre-in-the-round. Founders Ruth and Nathan Hale moved to Hollywood from Salt Lake City in 1943 with aspirations of breaking into show business. They soon realized the only way to pursue their dream was to open their own theatre, and the Glendale Centre Theatre was born in 1947. The Glendale Centre Theatre’s opening night in Ruth and Nathan’s own home had an audience of only six people, but word soon spread about the cozy intimate theatre – and the audience quickly grew. The Glendale Centre Theatre was a success! As audiences began to outgrow the size of the Hale’s intimate home theatre, Ruth and Nathan decided to build their own theatre from the ground up. In 1959 Ruth Hale purchased the plot of land where the Glendale Centre Theatre sits on Orange Street today. After that, as Grandma Hale would always say, “There was never a dull moment.” Happily, she even found time to pen several plays.
Eccentric and often scatterbrained scientist extraordinaire Jeff Baker (Randy Marquis) is currently separated from his wife Annette (Megan Blakeley) and hasn’t seen his daughter Abby for months. When who should show up unexpectedly on his doorstep but Annette – with Abby in tow? It seems that his estranged wife must leave the country for an extended business trip and has no one but Jeff to call upon to care for their little girl. And so begins the saga of a lovable but inept dad trying to understand his precocious child. Abby had better learn to love sardines for dinner – or else. When Abby becomes friends with her brainy young neighbor Everett (Van Brunelle) – and both decide to improve on Jeff’s disorganized computer files – the fur is sure to fly.
Meanwhile, sexy Southern belle neighbor Lu Ann Appleby (Eric Farnsworth) has her eye on Jeff. At the same time, Annette is currently involved with rich, gorgeous, and perfect Preston Conway (Brett Gustafson). The path of true love is certainly strewn with road blocks. While Jeff is frantically trying to meet his research deadline, things can easily get way out of control. Especially when little Abby decides to bring order to his harried and chaotic life and gives away his clothing to Salvation Army. Just the precise moment for social worker Merced Mason (Faith Streng) from Children and Family Services to get in the middle of the brewing storm. Sparks will surely fly in this charming family comedy.
Directed and adapted by James Castle Stevens, A BUNDLE OF TROUBLE is definitely family fare suitable for kids for eight to eighty. It is the warm and poignant story of a man who lives in his head and must now learn to express his thoughts and feelings – or suffer the consequences.
BUNDLE OF TROUBLE runs through February 1, 2019, with performances at 7:30 on Thursdays and Fridays, at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Saturdays, and at 2 p.m. on Sundays. The Glendale Centre Theatre is located at 324 N. Orange Street, Glendale, CA 91203. Tickets are $34; discounts are available for seniors ($30), students ($18), and groups. For information and reservations, call 818-244-8481 or go online.