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“A Bad Year for Tomatoes” Is a Good Time for Santa Clara Players Fans

You can always count on the Santa Clara Players (SCP) to tickle your funny bone with an offbeat—and often little-known—comedy. “A Bad Year for Tomatoes,” which premiered in Ohio in 1974, runs Feb. 23 – March 16.

“Directing this wacky, funny show with this talented cast has been a joy,” said Gilroy resident Bill Starr, a seasoned Bay Area director doing his second gig for Santa Clara Players.

While living in New York City, he acted in 18 Broadway shows.


“A Bad Year for Tomatoes” tells the tale of an aging mega-star TV actress (Myra Marlowe) fatigued by the pressures of her career. She escapes for a year to a charming (of course, charming) New England town to write her autobiography and cultivate tomatoes. But her nosey neighbors keep intruding on the peace and quiet she covets. Myra invents a crazy sister to keep them at bay. Naturally, things go awry—and Myra ends up facing charges of fratricide.

“We picked this comedy mainly because of its quirky characters,” said SCP producer George Doeltz. “And because I liked the title. We first produced it in 1982.”

SCP patrons have come to trust Doeltz’s intuition. He has been on the Board of Directors since 2000 and the producer since 2009. He—along with his wife, Debbie, and daughter, Sara—have a hand, as needed, in all theater tasks, including setting out free refreshments at intermission.

“Myra’s a fun character who’s been easy for me to connect to,” said California native and Santa Clara resident Annemarie Macry. Although this is her first show with SCP, she has more than 30 years of acting experience, most often in musicals.

“The challenge about performing a straight play is the line load itself!” she said.

She practices every day using a phone app that helps her run dialogue.

A favorite thing about being in the play is the actors she works with. That includes her husband, Paul, who plays the sheriff.

“They are all so super talented and bring so much life and color to the roles they are playing,” said Macry.

“A Bad Year for Tomatoes” is a clever comedy whose writer’s credentials are no laughing matter. It was written by Pulitzer Prize-winning American playwright and screenwriter John Patrick.

Patrick (1905-1995) was prolific, writing some 30 plays and a dozen or so classic screenplays such as “Teahouse of the August Moon,” “Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing,” and “Three Coins in the Fountain.”

Visit SCP online at or call (408) 248-7993 for tickets to “A Bad Year for Tomatoes.”

Performances are in the cozy, 71-seat Hall Pavilion (behind Santa Clara’s Triton Museum of Art), 1750 Don Ave. at Warburton Ave. Seats are not assigned. The comedy “Fully Committed” by Becky Mode, which ends the SCP 2023-2024 season, plays May 17 – June 2.

“People should come and see ‘A Bad Year for Tomatoes’ to get a laugh, which is not easy if you only watch the news,” said Doeltz.


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