'Citizen King': Dinner and a laugh

Posted: Thursday, February 14, 2008

The last word of a dying tycoon: "Rosebud."

What does it mean? Who, or what, is Rosebud? This enigmatic plot device in Orson Welles' "Citizen Kane," widely thought to be one of the greatest films ever to come out of Hollywood, becomes the focus of a group of reporters trying to solve the mystery of this last word spoken by publishing magnate Charles Foster Kane.

So who, or what, is Rosebud when the story is transplanted to present day Alaska, and flipped on its head by Triumvirate director and playwright Joe Rizzo?

"It's the story of a young boy who grows up on the Kenai, who ends up a millionaire because his mother invested in a mining company," Rizzo summarized.

This Valentine's Day weekend, Triumvirate returns to The Crossing Restaurant in Soldotna with its annual fundraising dinner theatre and auction. According to Rizzo, the story is loosely based on the story of "Citizen Kane," borrowing characters, some plot points and style from the classic film.

"We set it up all in flashback. We actually start it out with a movie we made," said Rizzo.

Though the concept of the opening newsreel is borrowed from the play, the main character is transformed into Kenai boy, Charles Foster King, giving the spoof its name "Citizen King."

Those who look forward to this reminiscence about Alaska's year in politics, local issues and those who made news in the past year will not be disappointed. "Citizen King" includes a sketch of Alaska's first couple. Gov. Sarah Palin goes over a voluminous to do list of legislative chores with her husband, Todd.

What's on his to do list? "I think I'll overhaul the snowmachine."

Without giving up the jokes before the event, Rizzo also says people can look forward to a couple of special guests.

"Every year it's fun because we always get Dave Carey to do a cameo, as the mayor," Rizzo said.

The evening of fun has a greater purpose. As Triumvirate's annual fundraiser, the event helps support programs that might otherwise not be possible.

"The first thing it helps us do is offset when we get involved with charities," Rizzo said.

Because of events like "Citizen King," the company is able to make these commitments to the community, and still pay rent.

Triumvirate is also able to launch new programs. Recently, the company began offering weekly films at its location in the Peninsula Center Mall. The group also be renovating a second space out toward Nikiski in the coming months.

Tickets for "Citizen King" are available for purchase at The Crossing, which will provide the dinner. Rizzo said people can expect, "an excellent meal in the classiest restaurant in town."

Rizzo is very pleased with the auction items for this year's event, which include trips, celebrity-autographed items, and artwork from such artists as Jim Evenson and Chris Jenness. Auction items are available for viewing on Triumvirate Theater's Web site.

Triumvirate Theatre will hold its 3rd annual dinner theatre and auction on Saturday at the Crossing Restaurant. For reservations, call the Crossing Restaurant at 262-1906.

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