That’s probably an unfair tease. There’s no high quality if utterly ubiquitous coffee on stage in N. Richard Nash’s play “The Rainmaker.”
There is, however, a Starbuck. That would be Bill Starbuck, the drifter/scam artist who worms his way into the heart and bed of spinster Lizzie Curry by promising to make it rain in the parched Dust Bowl town where the Curry family lives.
If you’ve heard of “The Rainmaker,” it may be because of the 1956 film with Burt Lancaster and Kate Hepburn as Starbuck and Lizzie respectively. Hepburn was Oscar nominated. Or maybe you saw the 1982 TV movie with Tuesday Weld being conned by, of all people, Tommy Lee Jones as Starbuck for director John Frankenheimer.
The last Broadway revival of “The Rainmaker” was in 2000 with Woody Harrelson and Jayne Atkinson for the Roundabout Theatre Co and director Scott Ellis. Back in 2004, husband and wife Jason Daniely and Marin Mazzie co-starred at the Pasadena Playhouse in “The Rainmaker’s” musical version, “110 in the Shade.”
The production of “The Rainmaker” at Edgemar Center for the Arts boasts a couple of familiar names and what is becoming a fairly regular pairing. Tanna Frederick of “Hollywood Dreams” and “Just 45 Minutes From Broadway” will play Lizzie with Robert Standley as Starbuck.
The familiar pairing, however, is Frederick and writer/director Henry Jaglom whose Rainbow Theater Company is co-producing this production with Edgemar. “Just 45 Minutes from Broadway” was a play written by Jaglom before it became a movie written and directed by Jaglom, but after Jaglom had already directed Frederick in “Hollywood Dreams,” “Queen of the Lot” and “Irene in Time.” Frederick and yours truly chatted about Jaglom, “Just 45 Minutes…” and good old-fashioned Iowa moxie way back in 2009 in this very space.
Jaglom’s not directing “The Rainmaker”; Jack Heller is. Edgemar patrons may also remember Frederick in the A.R. Gurney comedy “Sylvia” in which she played a most fetching dog who accelerates her owner’s midlife crisis.
“The Rainmaker” plays 7:30 p.m. Fri.-Sat., 5 p.m. Sun; through Feb. 17 at 2437 Main St., Santa Monica. (310) 392-7327, www.edgemarcenter.org.