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updated: 5/8/2017 9:47 PM

Riverfront Playhouse brings 'Bus Stop' to stage

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Riverfront Playhouse

The Riverfront Playhouse presents the romantic comedy "Bus Stop" by William Inge at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, May 5 to June 10, at 11-13 Water Street Mall in Aurora.

Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright William Inge had a smash hit on Broadway in the mid-1950s with "Bus Stop." Later, it became a starring vehicle for Marilyn Monroe when it was adapted into a successful movie.

According to director Gary Puckett, "Bus Stop" is nothing less than "a fairy tale for adults." He went on to say that "Bus Stop" is a production that all ages can enjoy together.

"There are no real villains and it is one of those rare stories that are both poignant and hilarious -- sometimes at the exact same time," Puckett said.

The Riverfront production is a revival, as "Bus Stop" was the third play that the Playhouse produced, way back in 1979, and Puckett was in that production as an actor.

"Things were a little more primitive then," Puckett said. "For instance, our snow machine was operated by hand and one night we had to press an audience member into service to keep it going. Fortunately, he was a member of the company, but I'm not sure he ever really forgave us."

The plot centers on Bo Decker (Frank Warpeha), a young cowboy who on his first trip off the ranch finds "true love" in the person of Cherie (AmariaVan Dran), a nightclub singer of dubious reputation.

Although his sidekick, Virgil (Chris Contreras), tries to talk him out of it, Bo is determined to take Cherie to Montana and marry her. But fate intervenes when a blizzard strands the bus they are on at a small bus stop cafe run by Grace (Kristen Duerdoth), a self-described "grass widow".

Another passenger on the bus is Dr. Lyman (Steve Rasmussen), an alcoholic ex-college professor who has a weakness for underage girls and who is soon tempted when he meets the café's sole waitress, Elma (Heidi Schultz).

Rounding out the cast is Carl (Robert Becker), an oversexed bus driver and Will (Tim Slewitzke), a stern churchgoing sheriff who may end up being the Immovable Object to Bo's Irresistible Force.

Tickets are $17 or $15 for students and seniors. Visit