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Curtain Rises: ‘Our Lady’ in Lehigh Valley premiere at Pennsylvania Playhouse

A primarily Latino cast presents the Lehigh Valley premiere of Luis Santeiro’s “Our Lady of the Tortilla,” Jan. 27 - Feb. 12, Pennsylvania Playhouse, Bethlehem.

The 1987 comedy about a Latino family revolves around the revelations that ensue when a pious aunt sees the face of the Virgin Mary in a tortilla while cooking.

The play is described as “a story about family and how, despite differences, love is the most important thing of all.”

In “Our Lady,’ over a weekend, the Cruz family threatens to burst at the seams. Nelson, youngest son and a college student, returns home in a panic to hide religious relics from the sight of his WASP-y girlfriend, who is visiting for the weekend.

The real pandemonium occurs when mother Dahlia’s sweet old-maid sister, Dolores, sees the face of the Virgin in a tortilla, turning the family’s New Jersey home into a suburban Lourdes.

As the family struggles with their beliefs and conflicts, the endurance of family love is revealed to be the real miracle.

Kathy Pacheco will make her Playhouse debut as director of the comedy-drama.

The six-person cast includes Sonia Strockyj (Dolores Cantú), Gloria Millheim (Dahlia Cruz), Dave Donado (Nelson Cruz), Andrew Maldonado (Eddie Cruz), Lana Brucker (Beverly Barnes) and Tamara Decker (Valerie Spinetti.)

“Our Lady of the Tortilla,” 7:30 p.m. Jan. 27 - 28, Feb. 3 - 4, 10 - 11; 3 p.m. Jan. 29, Feb. 5, 12, The Pennsylvania Playhouse, 390 Illicks Mill Road, Bethlehem. Tickets: 610-865-6665; http://www.paplayhouse.org/

Audience participation mystery:

The Pines Dinner Theater opens its 2023 season with a new, original audience-participation mystery, “Summer Lovin’: The Rodewell High Comedy Murder Mystery Parody,” Jan. 27 - April 29.

“Summer Lovin,’” written and directed by Pines Dinner Theatre Artistic Director Oliver Blatt, is a parody of 1960s high school movie comedies.

In the comedy, it’s time for the talent show at Rodewell High. Things don’t go as planned. It’s up to the audience to help figure it out.

Dinner and performance happen concurrently. Theater-goers are to arrive at least 15 minutes before show time.

“Summer Lovin,’” 7 p.m. Friday, 4, 7 p.m. Saturday, 12:30 p.m. Sunday. The Pines Dinner Theatre, 448 N. 17th St., Allentown. Food and beverages are ala carte. Tickets: 610-433-2333, https://www.pinesdinnertheatre.com

“Curtain Rises” is a column about the theater, stage shows, the actors in them and the directors and artists who make them happen. To request coverage, email: Paul Willistein, Focus editor, pwillistein@tnonline.com.

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY KIM CARSON PHOTOGRAPHY From left: Lana Brucker, Dave Donado, Andrew Maldonado, Sonia Strockyj, Tamara Decker, Gloria Millheim, “Our Lady of the Tortilla,” Pennsylvania Playhouse.