Press Release:  Bell, Book and Candle





Written by John van Druten
Directed by Richard Israel

Limited Engagement opens Saturday, October 23 at The Colony Theatre in Burbank!

"Completely enchanting — a wonderfully suave and impish fantasy." - New York Times
"Delicious! A valentine to the innocent, optimistic love stories of the '50s." - North County Times

September 14, 2010...Burbank...The Colony Theatre Company is thrilled to present its third and most magical production of its 36th season, BELL, BOOK AND CANDLE, written by John van Druten and directed by Richard Israel (Merrily We Roll Along), making his Colony Theatre directorial debut. BELL, BOOK AND CANDLE will preview on Wednesday, October 20; Thursday, October 21; and Friday, October 22 at 8:00pm and will open on Saturday, October 23 at 8:00pm and continue through Sunday, November 21 at The Colony Theatre, 555 North Third Street (at Cypress) adjacent to the Burbank Town Center.

Before there was Bewitched, before Wicked and Harry Potter, there was Bell, Book and Candle. Gillian is a beautiful witch living in 1950s New York City who is smitten with her handsome upstairs neighbor. She casts a little spell, and he is immediately and completely captivated by her. But Gillian must be careful — if she falls in love with him, she could lose her magical powers forever. Will she be undone by her own mischief? A frothy and spellbinding romantic comedy, Bell, Book and Candle shows that love might be the most bewitching spell of all.


JOHN VAN DRUTEN (Playwright) is primarily known as a witty, urbane observer of modern society. He was born in London in 1901 and originally planned a career in law, which he practiced and taught for a time, before pursuing a career as a writer. He first came to prominence in London in 1925 with Young Woodley and enjoyed tremendous success in the 1930s with star-studded West End productions of his work including Diversion (1928), After All (1929), London Wall (1931), There's Always Juliet (1931), Somebody Knows (1932), Behold, We Live (1932), The Distaff Side (1933) and Flowers of the Forest (1934). Van Druten later emigrated to America where he became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1944. His best-received American works were The Voice of the Turtle (1943), which ran for three seasons in New York and was later filmed with Ronald Reagan; I Remember Mama (1944), later filmed with Irene Dunne and Barbara Bel Geddes; Bell, Book and Candle (1950), later filmed with Kim Novak and James Stewart; and I Am a Camera (1951) which together with Christopher Isherwood's short stories Goodbye to Berlin formed the basis of Joe Masteroff's book for the Kander and Ebb musical Cabaret in 1966. In additional to playwriting, van Druten directed the last nine productions of his own plays, and in 1951, he directed the first production of The King and I, which ran for 1,246 performances on Broadway. He published two novels: a version of Young Woodley (1928) and The Vicarious Years (1955), along with two autobiographies: The Way to the Present (1938) and The Widening Circle: Personal Search (1957). Van Druten died at Indio, California, in 1957.

RICHARD ISRAEL (Director), one of the most respected and prolific directors in Los Angeles, makes his Colony Theatre debut with Bell, Book and Candle. He is the recipient of the L.A. Drama Critics' Circle Milton Katselas Award for Career Achievement in Directing, and is proud to serve as the Co-Artistic Director for Hollywood's West Coast Ensemble Theatre His directing credits include the critically-acclaimed West Coast Premiere of Anita Bryant Died For Your Sins, the Los Angeles Premiere of Big: The Musical, Stephen Sondheim's Assassins (LA Weekly Award Nominations for Direction and Outstanding Musical, LADCC Award for Musical Ensemble), David Lindsay Abaire's Wonder of the World, and Adam Guettel's Floyd Collins (Backstage Garland Award for Direction), all for West Coast Ensemble. Richard also directed Jeanine Tesori's Violet for Musical Theatre Guild, and Big River, 1776 (LA Weekly Award Nomination for Direction and Outstanding Musical), and Leading Ladies for Actor's Co-op. His recent directing credits include Merrily We Roll Along at The Actor's Co-op, High Spirits for Musical Theatre Guild, and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels for Interact Theatre Company. Prior to these projects, he directed A Christmas Carol and A Grand Night For Singing (both for the Norris Theatre) and Meet Me In St. Louis for Musical Theatre West.

WILL BRADLEY (Nicky) has burst onto the Los Angeles theatre scene in a surprisingly short time. After playing the title role in the southeastern premiere of Wendy Wasserstein's Third at Atlanta's Horizon Theatre, Will was cast in the pivotal role of Mordred in The Pasadena Playhouse's production of Camelot earlier this year. Most recently, he received universal acclaim in The Theatre @ Boston Court's landmark production of The Twentieth Century Way, which was invited to the New York Fringe Festival and won the award for Outstanding Production of a Play. He is proud to be making his Colony Theatre debut.

MARY JO CATLETT (Aunt Queenie) has been delighting audiences for nearly five decades with memorable, award-winning performances in film, TV, and on stage. She made her Broadway debut in 1963 in Along Came a Spider and went on to appear on Broadway in the original cast of Hello, Dolly!, Canterbury Tales, and the acclaimed revival of The Pajama Game. Here in Los Angeles, she has become a local theatre legend, winning Los Angeles Drama Critics' Circle Awards for her performances in Come Back, Little Sheba (1976) and Philadelphia, Here I Come (1980). From 1982 to 1986, she joined the cast of TV's Diff'rent Strokes as the housekeeper, and she was nominated for an Emmy during the 1989-1990 season of General Hospital. Her dozens of TV appearances stretch back to the 1970s and include The Bob Newhart Show, MASH, Mr. Belvedere, Night Court, Gimme a Break, Saved By the Bell, Maude, Welcome Back, Cotter, Murder She Wrote, Matlock, and Fantasy Island. Her films include Woody Allen's Bananas, Mel Brooks' High Anxiety, Semi-Tough, The Champ, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, and Serial Mom. Recently, she performed on stage in Beauty and the Beast, Big River, The Full Monty, and several variations of Nunsense, and she also appeared on the hit TV show Glee. Mary Jo's most popular work of late has been that of Mrs. Puff in the animated TV series and feature film SpongeBob SquarePants.

WILLOW GEER (Gillian) represents the third generation of a theatrical family, as she is the daughter of actress Ellen Geer and the granddaughter of the legendary Will Geer. She returns to The Colony after playing the title role in George Bernard Shaw's Candida last year. She is a lifelong company member of the Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum in Topanga Canyon where she has appeared in countless productions, most recently as Ophelia in Hamlet, Helena in A Midsummer Night's Dream, and Constance in an original adaptation of The Three Musketeers. She has toured internationally singing with The Bird and the Bee and has appeared locally at The Odyssey Theatre and the Independent Theater Company while picking up numerous television, film, and voice over credits along the way. She holds a BA in theatre from UCLA and has studied at the London Academy of Theatre and Globe Theatre in London.

BENTON JENNINGS (Sidney Redlitch) has appeared on stage in over 100 roles nationally and internationally, including Shakespearean plays, national tours, musicals, and much more. His extensive film credits include Mr. & Mrs. Smith, An American Carol, In Her Shoes, and The Last of the Mohicans, with leading roles in the independent films How Henri Came to Stay, Highway to Hell, and Macon County War. His long list of television credits includes Big Love, Scrubs, Dexter, Greek, The League, Without A Trace, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, JAG, Passions, and The Drew Carey Show, and he is a series regular in the hit webseries comedy Safety Geeks: SVI.

MICHAEL A. NEWCOMER (Shep) has established himself as one of the most versatile actors in Los Angeles theatre in recent years, and he returns to The Colony after appearing earlier this year in Celadine. His other recent productions include leading roles in The Playboy of the Western World and Crime and Punishment, both at A Noise Within, The Heiress at South Coast Repertory, and The Manchurian Candidate with The Production Company. Michael spent two summers at the Old Globe Summer Shakespeare Festival performing in Macbeth, Titus Andronicus, A Midsummer's Night Dream, A Comedy of Errors, Othello, and A Winter's Tale. He has appeared extensively at major regional theatres across the country including Portland Center Stage, Alliance Theatre, Virginia Stage, Dallas Theatre Center, Actor's Theatre of Louisville, A Contemporary Theatre, Intiman Theatre, and the historic Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C.

BELL, BOOK AND CANDLE has assembled an award-winning design team. The Scenic Design is by Stephen Gifford (LA Weekly Award, Lady). The Lighting Design is by Luke Moyer (Ovation Award, Dracula). The Costume Design is by Sharon McGunigle (Ovation Award, Alice in One-Hit Wonderland). The Sound Design is by Cricket S. Myers (10-time Ovation Award nominee). Prop Design and Set Dressing is by Colony Theatre resident designers MacAndMe.


BELL, BOOK AND CANDLE will open on Saturday, October 23 at 8:00pm and continue through Sunday, November 21. Performances for BELL, BOOK AND CANDLE are Thursdays & Fridays at 8:00pm; Saturdays at 3:00pm & 8:00pm; and Sundays at 2:00pm. Ticket prices range from $20.00 - $42.00 (student, senior and group discounts are available). BELL, BOOK AND CANDLE will preview on Wednesday, October 20; Thursday, October 21; and Friday, October 22 at 8:00pm. Opening night performance with reception - all tickets $50.00. There are question-and-answer talkbacks after the performances on Friday, October 29, and Thursday, November 11 For tickets, call the Colony Theatre Box Office at 818/558-7000 ext. 15 or online at

For more information, press interviews, photos or for press comps, please contact David Elzer/DEMAND PR at 818/508-1754 or at or visit

The award-winning Colony Theatre Company is Burbank's premiere professional theatre. It was voted "Best Live Theatre in L.A." in The Daily News 2006 Readers' Choice poll, and has been named one of "25 Notable U.S. Theatre Companies" by Encyclopedia Britannica Almanac for 6 years in a row. 

The Colony Theatre Company is a 36-year old organization dedicated to bringing the finest-quality theatrical productions to Los Angeles. The theatre is located at 555 North Third Street, at the corner of Cypress, in the heart of Downtown Burbank. For further information, call (818) 558-7000. Fax: (818) 558-7110. E-mail: Or visit our website at