The 1980 play, which was adapted into a 1983 motion picture starring Michael Caine and Julie Walters, follows the relationship between a working-class 46-year-old hairdresser from Liverpool named Rita (Toni Young) and university lecturer Frank (Gene Strohl) over the course of a year.
Rita — who has changed her name from Susan — is dissatisfied with the routine of her work and social life and seeks betterment by signing up for and attending an open university course in English literature. Frank is a career academic who takes on the role of her tutor for the extra money he needs to sustain his alcoholism.
Frank is impressed by Rita’s verve and earnestness and is forced to re-examine his attitudes and position in life. Franks tutelage, meanwhile, opens doors and helps foster a new self-confidence in Rita.
The play runs every weekend through April 30, with evening shows at 7:30 on Fridays and Saturdays and 3 p.m. matinées on Sundays. Regular admission is $22, with student tickets priced at $17. A champagne opening was scheduled for April 1, with admission $30.
“Educating Rita” is the first of two plays written by Russell that will be produced this year at the Pewter Plough. The second, “Shirley Valentine,” is next up on the playhouse schedule.