“The Girl in the Freudian Slip” would have been lost to the sands of Broadway time in the 1960s if opening night reviews were anything to go by. It didn’t last too long in 1967, but Bernadette Peters, who made her debut in the original cast, did (to the tune of seven Tony nominations, two of which she won). As did playwright William F. Brown, who went on to write a musical called “The Wiz.”
Circle Bar B Theatre has made a successful run of resurrecting light comedic fare and plans to do so again this weekend, when Joe Beck directs its next production.
The bedroom — and analyst’s office — farce deals with Dewey Maugham, a married psychoanalyst who secretly lusts after his shapely and sex-positive patient, Barbara Leonard, played by Nicole Hollenitsch. To clear his mind, he writes his fantasy down as a play. All is well and good, until his daughter finds the play and, through a series of coincidences, it lands in the lap of a literary agent…who is also the original patient. It’s a farce — these things happen.
The cast includes some familiar Circle Bar B favorites. Rodney Baker, last seen in “The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940,” plays the psychiatrist, and Deborah Helm, who plays his wife, has appeared in DIJO’s “The Love Song of J. Robert Oppenheimer,” among others. George Coe played the Neil Simon character in SBCC’s “Laughter on the 42nd Floor,” and Claire Gordon-Harper was last seen in “The Suicide” at SBCC.
Joe Beck, last seen at Circle Bar B directing “Tony and the Soprano” in 2009, returns by request of David and Susie Couch, the theater’s artistic directors.
” ‘Tony’ was a warm, fuzzy, family show,” Beck says. “This is more adult with way more sexual innuendo.”
Circle Bar B has kept Beck in its employ since he landed a role at age 17, his first paying gig. David and Susie Couch played his parents in that earliest of gigs and have shepherded him ever since.
Beck shares a similar past with his leading lady, the “Girl” of the title, Nicole Hollenitsch. Both journeyed to Los Angeles for the theater scene and returned slightly bruised, and a bit disillusioned.
“In Hollywood, you have a 99-seat house, but there’s only 12 people there, and nine of them were dragged along by the cast, and most are there because they’re looking for an agent,” Beck says with a mix of humor and disdain. “Circle Bar B is full all the time. It’s like doing a show with family, like a great group hug.”
Hollenitsch has her own L.A. battle scars but has been funneling her energies into improv, down in Los Angeles (with stints at Second City), and up in Ventura.
“I came from a place where I was paying theater companies to be a part of their theater,” she says. “And there was always bad parking in L.A. theater. That’s the main reason people wouldn’t go!”
She came to Santa Barbara “hungry for a role,” and finds herself blessed to get this job.
In an ironic twist, this Freudian Girl finds herself surrounded by analysts at her day job at the Pacific Graduate Institute. “It’ll be a kick to get these psychologists to come see the play,” she says. “It’s a nice little connection between work and theater.”
‘THE GIRL IN THE FREUDIAN SLIP’
When: 7 p.m. Saturday, 1 p.m. Sunday; through July 11
Where: Circle Bar B Theatre, 1800 Refugio Road, in Goleta
Cost: $20 to $45
Information: (805) 967-1962 or circlebarbtheatre.com