Women were a rare sight among the male-dominated camps of the California Gold Rush, and so it came as a shock to a couple of miners, Old Jake (Grant Goodeve) and Hoke (Jason Adkins), when a pregnant woman entered their cabin and shortly thereafter died in childbirth. With the assistance of three quarreling sidekicks, Boston (Justin Emerick), Moscow (David Anthony Lewis), and Georgia (Eric Riedmann), they raise the orphan as their own. None of them has the faintest idea what to do with a baby, but 10 years later they have a miraculously articulate, polite, and intuitive child, Tom (alternating Jake Lund and Danny Helms). They live an idyllic, albeit illiterate, life in the mountains, where all dramatic conflicts are solved within two minutesuntil Toms Aunt Sarah (Casi Wilkerson) trudges her way from the East Coast and lays claim to her nephew. What follows is a mostly conventional story in which the stuffy, educated woman from the East learns from the rugged, simple men of the West and vice-versa, and they all change for the better. Its predictable, yes, but also charming and well-acted. The set design by Mark Lund creates the perfect ambiance for Norman Allens play, an adaptation of a Bret Harte story. BRENT ARONOWITZ Generally 7:30 p.m. Tues.-Thurs., 8 p.m. Fri., 2 & 8 p.m. Sat.; see Web site for exact schedule. Ends Dec. 27.
Fri., Nov. 21, 8 p.m.; Sat., Nov. 22, 8 p.m.; Tuesdays-Thursdays, 7:30 p.m.; Fridays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 2 & 8 p.m. Starts: Nov. 21. Continues through Dec. 27, 2008