“Rockrollers and Pancakes” addresses homelessness,

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    By MELANIE ARMSTRONG

    There was an unusual crowd for opening night at the Villa Theater Monday. But then — this was an unusual play.

    The current Villa production, “Rockrollers and Pancakes,” is based on a true story from the playwright’s own childhood, when his father lost his job and his family lived in a tent in Provo Canyon for the summer.

    Since the play addresses issues of poverty and homelessness, Bill Brown, director and playwright, decided to host a benefit night. He declared Monday night “I Care Night” at the Villa. Patrons who brought food items to donate to the Food and Care Coalition of Utah Valley received a discount on their ticket price.

    “We’re a community theater,” said Brown, president of the Villa Institute for the Performing Arts. “This is what community theater is all about: giving back to the community.”

    He wants people to remember that homelessness is a serious problem, even in Utah County.

    The community responded Monday night. “This is such a great idea,” said Kayla Deru, a senior from Ogden majoring in English. “I got to see a great play for free and I also helped the needy people in my community.”

    Don’t be misled because “Rockrollers and Pancakes” is a community production. The intimate stage of the Villa Theater is the perfect setting for the 10 person play. Each member of the cast puts on a delightful performance.

    The theater itself complements the play, which is set in the 1950s. An old movie house, the Villa Playhouse has red vinyl seats and heavy red drapes on the walls. The smell of buttery popcorn tempts the audience as they listen to Elvis tunes and wait for the play to start.

    “This is better than a movie,” Brown said. “This is theater!”

    “Rockrollers and Pancakes” runs through Saturday. Tickets are $6, $5 for children and seniors. Reservations can be made by calling 489-3088.

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