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Sally gets a clue

Sally Struthers, who starred in ‘All in the Family,’ will perform in ‘Clue: On Stage’ at the Bucks County Playhouse through May 20.

By Rita Charleston

On stage: Sally Struthers, better known for her role as Gloria Bunker on All in the Family, will play a much different role when she stars as Mrs. Peacock in Clue: On Stage through May 20 at the Bucks County Playhouse.

On a dark and stormy night, six unique guests, plus a butler and a maid, assemble for a dinner party at the home of Mr. Boddy. When their host turns up dead, it is clear that no one is safe. Soon, the guests are racing to find the killer and keep the body count from stacking up.

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Clue: On Stage, being presented at the Bucks County Playhouse through May 20, is based on the screenplay by Jonathan Lynn, with additional material by Eric Price and Hunter Foster. This production follows the 1985 movie that was based on the board game, originally published in England in 1948.

Appropriately set in the historic Perry Mansion, 45 S. Main St. in New Hope, the cast includes film, TV and stage star Sally Struthers, who stars in the role of Mrs. Peacock, originally played by the late Eileen Brennan in the film.

“I’ve never seen the film but I understand that most people who did have become almost cult worshipers. And now Eileen is one of the reasons why I don’t want to see it,” Struthers explains. “Of course, I’ve played the board game, but I don’t want to replicate what Eileen did — not that I could — so I begin to find out who Mrs. Peacock is as I begin to play her.”

One thing Struthers found, to her amazement, was Mrs. Peacock’s voice.

“Don’t ask me why, but the minute I opened my mouth, out came the voice of Ethel Merman. I didn’t plan it that way but it seems to work. So they left it in.”

Struthers says, from the time she was very small, she loved entertaining her family and friends. After high school, she trained at the Pasadena Playhouse College of Theatre Arts, and earned a scholarship as its “most promising student.”

Later, she went on to appear as a regular on such variety shows as the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour and the Tim Conway Comedy Hour. She also showed starlet promise in such films as Five Easy Pieces and The Getaway.

But then came All in The Family in 1971, and Struthers went on to win two supporting actress Emmy Awards as Kewpie-doll Gloria Bunker Stivic.

Struthers and her television husband, Rob Reiner, left the show after seven seasons eager to grow. And while the actress says she will always be thankful for the role that brought her such amazing recognition, in the four decades since then, she’s done many other things — like The Gilmore Girls.

“I feel so fortunate to have been part of that show,” Struthers says. “After playing Gloria, I thought I’d never catch the brass ring again. I’d never be able to say such wonderful lines again. But I was wrong. As soon as we began rehearsing, there was the brass ring right in my face again. Now, the old gang and I have gotten together again to produce four movies for Netflix.”

Today, Struthers says she’s thrilled to be back on the stage and in this play.

“To tell you the truth, it’s wonderful to still be wanted and to feel the respect from everyone around you. My dear friend, Brenda Vacarro, who is always busy going to openings and parties and such with her husband, Guy, told me you have to keep moving ’cause it creates a breeze.

“Well,” concludes Struthers, “someday, I’ll have that embroidered on my pillow.

“I feel like as long as I keep doing what I’m doing, I’m creating a breeze. And it feels good.” ••

Tickets range from $40 to $75. For information, call 215–862–2121, or visit buckscountyplayhouse.org

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