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Show them the money

In a real hometown effort, Laguna’s Sherwood Kiraly is teaming up with Gallimaufry Performing Arts.

“Scared Money” — a new light-hearted comedy play about six people in search of a hidden Santa Anita Pick Six racetrack ticket worth $714,000 — premieres at 8 tonight at the Forum Theatre on the Festival of Arts grounds.

The play, written by the playwright, novelist, screenwriter and Coastline Pilot columnist, will be performed by the Gallimaufry Performing Arts repertory company, and will run through April 18. And Kiraly isn’t just behind the scenes, he’s also on stage.

Kiraly said his latest work makes light of our national economic situation, and he thinks it is one of his funniest works to date.


“I guess you could say it’s a play for those who want to know where the money really is,” he said. “It’s a mystery, but it’s not a whodunit, it’s more of a where-is-it.

“It’s particularly timely now when those of us with money worries are doing our best to keep our hysteria from showing.”

The title derives from an old gambler’s saying, “Scared money never wins,” meaning you shouldn’t bet with money you’re scared to lose.

The plot centers on Walter (played by Kiraly), an author who wins a large sum of money while betting on horse races.


He hides the winning ticket but is then in a horrific car accident, which leaves him unconscious and in the hospital, and everyone scrambles to find his hidden ticket.

Something that separates this comedy from those Kiraly has written in the past is that he will also act in this one.

“I haven’t done that in over 30 years,” he said. “It adds to the fun and anxiety.”

Kiraly is best known for his 1995 novel, “Diminished Capacity,” a story about a memory-impaired Chicago journalist who takes time off from work to return to his rural hometown where he bonds with figures from his past, which became a 2008 film starring Matthew Broderick, Virginia Madsen and Alan Alda.

He’s also written three other novels: “Who’s Hot/Who’s Not” (1998), “Big Babies” (1996) and “California Rush” (1990).

Julie Josephson, who plays Walter’s soon-to-be ex-wife, Vee, said the play represents what many people are going through today in a hysterical way.

“Everyone has scared money right now,” she said. “None of us know what to do with it.”

Kiraly said Josephson is among a cast of strong actors, who really bring his vision to the stage.


“I’m really lucky to be working with such fine [talent] and I think the audiences will really enjoy it,” he said.


WHAT: “Scared Money”

WHEN: 8 tonight; 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday; 8 p.m. April 17; 2 and 8 p.m. April 18.

WHERE: Forum Theatre, Festival of Arts grounds, 650 Laguna Canyon Road

COST: $5 to $20

TICKETS: Purchase at www.gallimaufry .info/buytickets.html or by calling (949) 499-5060.