With Arts & Entertainment Editor Kathy L. Collins

The Village Players present Bell Book & Candle, a mid-century American classic written by John Van Duten. The original movie starred Kim Novak and Jimmy Stewart. It became a popular television spin off known as Bewitched.

Bell Book & Candle will begin with the ever-popular Opening Night Dinner Theatre. Village Players will present Bell Book & Candle this October at the James McCabe Theatre Friday, October 6 at the historic James McCabe Theatre in Valrico. The sponsor is Willie’s Seafood Restaurant. The meal will feature their famous catfish, red potatoes, green beans, coleslaw and hush puppies. Guests have a choice of ice tea or water. Reservations are needed as seating is limited. Dinner and the show is just $35 per person. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the curtain goes up at 8 p.m.

Regular shows will be held on Friday and Saturday, October 7, 13, 14, 20 and 21. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. and the curtain goes up at 8 p.m. There will be two Sunday matinees on October 8 and 15. Doors open at 2:30 and the curtain goes up at 3 p.m.

General admission for regular tickets are $18. For students, seniors 65 and older and military with ID, tickets are $15. Groups of 10 or more can get tickets for $15 and reserved seating.

Gail Pierce directs Bell Book & Candle. Pierce explained the show. “Bell Book & Candle has something to say about magic. I am not just referring to the spells and potions that spice up the play, but the kind of magic that happens between two people and the transformative power of true love,” said Pierce.

When Gillian Holroyd, played by Valentina Mandrin, casts a love spell on her neighbor, a handsome publisher named, Shep Henderson, played by C.J. Hahlam, the last thing she expects is to actually fall in love with him.

Bell Book & Candle shows that the heart turns out to be trickier than any supernatural power, and the play poses some questions about the identity, finding one’s real, authentic self and how much is sacrificed and gained in the process. As the play goes on, Gillian Holroyd discovers that humanity and vulnerability, for all its pain and messiness, provides infinite rewards.

Pierce said, “Do not think too much while watching the play. Just sit back, relax and let Bell Book & Candle cast a spell on you.”

For tickets and information, visit www.thevillageplayersvalrico.com or call 480-3147.

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