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Romantic comedy ‘The Gamester’ has Los Angeles premiere at Theatre 40

Scott Facher, Marco Svistalski and Maria Spassoff.
Scott Facher, Marco Svistalski and Maria Spassoff.Ed Krieger

Written by Freyda Thomas and inspired by “Le Joueur” by Jean François Regnard, “The Gamester” is having its Los Angeles premiere at Theatre 40 in the Reuben Cordoba Theatre. Produced David Hunt Stafford and directed by Jules Aaron the show features (in alphabetical order) Rafael Cansino, Susan Dumante, Mackenzie Eckels, Scott Facher, Antony Ferguson, Ilona Kulinska, Elain Rinehart, James Schendel, Maria Spassoff , David Hunt Stafford and Marco Svistalski.

Set in 18th Century Paris, the play finds young, handsome and charming Valere whose true love, beautiful Angelique also loves him in return. But compulsive gambler Valere has a mistress, Lady Luck.

“Angelique threatens Valere with an ultimatum, stop gambling or lose her forever. She has bestowed upon him a token of her love, a small portrait of herself in a jewel-bedecked frame. Will he surrender his most treasured possession for an evening of thrills at the casino table?”

“The Gamester” is performed in rhymed couplets. “Although set in the 1800s, its story of true love, schemes, casual lusts, machinations, treachery and too many casinos feels as modern as today.”

Regnard (1655-1709) was a poet, playwright, travel writer and gambler who inherited fortunes from both of his parents. “The Gamester” was one of 23 comedies written by him in verse for the Comedie francaise.

Thomas, who wrote the English-language adaptation of “The Gamester,” is celebrated for her adaptations of Moliere, including “The Learned Ladies,” “The Miser” and “Tartuffe Born Again.”

“The Gamester” opens 8 p.m. Thursday, July 24, 2014 and performs 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday through August 24, 2014. The performance on Friday, July 25 is by invitation. Admission is $26. Call 310-364-0535 or visit www.theatre40.org.

Theatre 40 is located at 241 S. Moreno Dr. in Beverly Hills. Ample free parking is available beneath the theater. The venue is on the campus of Beverly Hills High School.