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Pie in the Sky

Pie in The Sky at The Victory Theatre Center extends through May 28

Written by Lawrence Thelen

Starring K Callan & Laurie O’Brian

Directed by Maria Gobetti

Produced by Tom Ormeny, Katie Witkowski & Co-Produced by Gail Bryson 

There are few things in life more beguiling than the smell of apple pie baking in the oven. So imagine, if you will, a play written around the preparation and baking of a fresh and delicious apple pie.

“A Pie in the Sky” – great drama + great pie is a match made in heaven as it turns out.

Of course, the play is not just about the pie, just as Laura Esquivel’s exquisite book “Like Water for Chocolate” was not just about food.  No, this play is about love, a mother and daughter’s love, and the kind of relationship that can only exist between two people who accept each other, warts and all. Even though they may not always tell each other everything, they will always love the other more than they love themselves…true love then.

pie victory

It’s 4am on the morning of the daughter Dory’s 65th birthday and her mother, unable to sleep, is up preparing to bake her an apple pie as a birthday surprise.

Dory is played with perfection and a beautifully dry wit by Laurie O’Brian and, her mother, Mama, is played by the truly splendid K Callan with the kind of sardonic warmth only a mother can know.

The set is a kitchen, the stove is hot, the tea brewing, and the apples are peeled as we watch them pull memories from each other like lint from a sweater.

These two women, one 65 and the other 85, who know each other as only family can, are baking this pie their own reasons, not just for a birthday.  Mama feels her night drawing in and Dory is being swallowed by her grief at the loss of her husband and son years ago and the ever widening distance this grief has put between her and her own daughter.

You get a sense that things have to change now or be set in their spiralling doom forever.   I think Mama has a sense of this more keenly than Dory, but as reluctant as Dory seems to be as her mother attempts to teach her how to bake this perfect pie, she still peels the apples, stirs the flour, and crumbles the topping, somehow knowing that every moment is more important than the last.

I loved this play, not just because I got to taste the amazingly delicious pie after the show but because I felt the rawness of their love.  I felt these two healing together over the brown sugar, the cinnamon and the nutmeg.  I was reminded how I cooked with my own mother as a child and as an adult, and how as we both grew older what we cooked together mattered more and more, and what we learned from each other as we cooked was just as delicious as the food.

pie in the sky

Food plays such an important role in our lives, it ties us to each other, and the memories made surrounding it become so deep that the slightest whiff of vanilla, garlic or burnt butter can stop us in our tracks and take us back through time to moments so etched into our minds and hearts that they ache to be touched.

“Pie in The Sky” is another world premiere from the brilliance that is The Victory Theatre and, as usual, the production is flawlessly presented.  The staging is so intricately wrought that stepping on stage at the end of the show to try a slice of pie was like passing through some invisible barrier into the world of Dory and Mama.  After such an intimate and heartbreaking time spent watching them care for each other, their kitchen and their home felt almost church-like. 

The dialogue was real, raw and unburdened by unnecessary flourish or revelation and, because of this, it was true.  I have a tender spot for mother-daughter fair I must admit, but this wonderful and moving play was so close to what I remember, so close to what we all have known at one point or other in our lives if we are lucky, that it left me quiet, thoughtful and grateful to have seen it.

Maria Gobetti directs with a lightness and a knowing warmth that only makes these brilliant actors’ performances more shiningly true to life and creates a stunning portrait of the deepest of relationships.  Maria and her co-artistic director Tom Ormeny always produce plays of the highest quality about the most important subjects and, again and again, their outstanding choices honors both the work and the actors and the audience.

Go and see this play. I challenge you not to be moved by these two fabulous actors and to not go home with a yearning for your mother and some pie…

The Victory Theatre Center

3324 W Victory Blvd.

Burbank, 91505


March 31 – May 28, Fridays & Saturdays at 8pm, Sundays at 4pm.


K Callan – Mama

Laurie O’Brian – Dory


Written by Lawrence Thelen

Directed by Maria Gobetti

Artistic Director – Tom Ormeny

Produced by Tom Ormeny & Katie Witkowski

Set Designer – Evan Bartoletti

Lighting Designer – Carol Doehring

Costume Designer – Becky Parker- Rickon

Sound Designer/Composer – Noah Andrade

Stage Manager/vocalist – Gigi Palacio

ASM – Sean Spencer

Social Media – Chealsea Sutton

Samantha Simmonds-Ronceros

Author: Samantha Simmonds-Ronceros

Samantha Simmonds-Ronceros is a British writer and filmmaker living In Los Angeles.

Samantha Simmonds-Ronceroshttps://www.imdb.com/name/nm4303729/?ref_=nv_sr_srsg_0
Samantha Simmonds-Ronceros is a British writer and filmmaker living In Los Angeles.