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'The Happy Ones'

The cast of "The Happy Ones," opening in St. Helena on Oct. 5. 

Upstage Napa Valley opens its 2019-2020 season on Oct. 5 with “The Happy Ones,” by Julie Marie Myatt.

“The Happy Ones,” winner of the Schmitt Award for Outstanding New Play, is a poignant story in the aftermath of the Vietnam War. The play is set in suburban Orange County in 1975. Walter Wells feels he is the happiest man on earth, with a beautiful wife, two great kids and a home with a pool. His life is one of contentment, until fate strikes a devastating blow. A Vietnamese doctor, who has escaped as a refugee after the war and is dealing with his own deep sadness, helps Wells find forgiveness and hope and in this uplifting and surprisingly funny play.

Directed by Sharie Renault, the cast includes Gabriel Frey as Walter Wells; Tony Banthutham, as Bao Ngo; Fred Ireland, as Gary Stuart, the Unitarian minister; and Shannon Emery plays the comedic role of divorcee Mary-Ellen Hughes, who is new to the neighborhood. This is Banthutham's first time on stage. Behind-the-scenes, Jan Bradley is stage manager, and Ben Casas and Alan Schneider run sound and lights.

The actors and director will hold an open discussion with the audience at the conclusion of the performance.

Shows are Oct. 5 and 6; 11, 12 and 13; and 18, 19 and 20. Tickets are $25 for general admission, $15 for students and $20 for groups. Purchase advance tickets at upstagenapavalley.org, or by calling 707-341-3278. Friday and Saturday shows begin at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday matinees at 5 p.m.

All performances are held at Grace Episcopal Church’s Newton Hall, 1314 Spring St., St Helena. During the 15-minute intermission, local wines and refreshments will be available.

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