Although the new production of "Lone Star" takes place on the small stage of Stars Playhouse, director Hank Webb remembers an even more intimate performance.

"A couple of centuries ago, I had the great pleasure of performing the role of Cletis in James McClure’s 'Lone Star' in the backyard of Narducci’s Restaurant in East Bako," he wrote in an email. "Perfect for this show because it takes place in the cluttered backyard of a small-town Texas bar."

In this show, Cletis, the slow-witted son of the hardware store owner, is played by Jack Oglesby. He has mixed feelings about the return of his idol, Roy (Travis McElroy), who is back after serving in Vietnam. While happy to see the former high-school hero, he is afraid to confess his role in the destruction of one of three things Roy holds dear: his 1959 pink Thunderbird.

Roy's brother, Ray (John Spitzer), also has some buried secrets to share with his sibling on life in their town while Roy was overseas.

The description may seem heavily dramatic but Webb said there are plenty of laughs to be had.

He wrote, "James McClure is a brilliant comedy writer with an ear for authentic dialogue who has filled this story with great comic action that I promise will deliver moments of laughs as well as tenderness."

Along with a great script, Webb is impressed with his tight-knit cast. 

"I am blessed with creative, very talented performers with great comic skills who really like each other, help each other and who bring joy to the stage," he wrote. "No prima donnas here, we are an ensemble. Without joy in the work, I wouldn’t do it."

The show runs Fridays and Saturdays through March 16. Vickie Stricklind, who advised on the show, said that there will be live country music in the lobby before every performance. Following the March 8 and 9 performances, the musicians will stick around for a jam session afterwards.

Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Stars Playhouse, 2756 Mosasco St. Admission is $20. Call 325-6100 or visit for reservations, which are recommended because seating is limited.

Mix and Mingle

There are a number of opportunities to network in Bakersfield but are many of them 12 stories up? At Thursday's Mix & Mingle at the Club —that's the Petroleum Club in Stockdale Tower — guests can meet other professionals, learn about businesses and aid the Kern Literacy Council, which is holding a book drive.

Donate a new or gently used book to Kern Adult Literacy Foundation and receive one raffle ticket entry. Books will go to the council, and raffle winners will be drawn later in the evening.

Presenters, such as author Aliza McCracken, will briefly discuss their work to the audience, which is encouraged to bring business cards to make connections.

The mixer runs from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday at the Petroleum Club of Bakersfield, 5060 California Ave. 12th floor. Admission is $10, $5 for club members and guests. Call 324-6561 to RSVP.

Stefani Dias can be reached at 661-395-7488. Follow her on Twitter at @realstefanidias.

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