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This comedy is a heart-warming look at how change affects our lives.  Marie struggles to keep the family business and live her own life after her husband’s unfortunate—though comic—death.  Little Mike, Marie’s son, deals with an emptiness that he is still too young to fully articulate. Bill, a stranger in town, rethinks his life after being suddenly dumped by his wife.  Jake, Marie’s sister, questions her vagabond lifestyle as she realizes excitement is not a synonym for fulfillment.  These characters try to redirect their lives against a backdrop of urban redevelopment, which allows for the introduction of the play’s villains: Stan, a scheming low-life; and Baranski, an on-the-take petty bureaucrat.  The play runs 1:45, has a single set, and can be produced with as few as 10 actors or up to 19.  The premiere production had 7M and 7W.

Poster design by Daryll Stokes for the Rialto Community Players premier

Bill (MarK Sanfilippo) waits for Karl (Scott Morrill) to open Aria's.

Mike (Mike Truelock) returns with a rose for Marie (Lisa Shannon).

Production History

2016    Starlight Village Players (full production)/Jill Gelster, Director

2015    Inland Valley Repertory Theater (staged reading)/Frank Minano, Director

2013    Rialto Community Players (full production, season opener)/Chris Diehl, Director

2011     Riverside Community Players (staged reading)/Rory Dyer, Director

Cast of Characters


Mousy in appearance, he trembles in the presence of Karl.                   


Teutonic in both word and manner, he is in his late fifties to early sixties and is the über-waiter.       
Bill Stokes  

Bill is the average nice guy you don’t write home about but should.  In his 40s, he is a good man with a touch of OCD.

Marie Aria

Widowed almost a year and in her forties, she is fragile and frantic, but she regains her strength and belief in a future.

Little Mike  

Marie’s precocious seven-year-old son is streetwise but vulnerable.   
Patron 1   

With only one line, this actor can double as both Waiter and a patron or date.         
Patron 2
Rose Aria   

Mike Aria’s sister, she was widowed 11 years ago.  Age 60, she is a tonic for Marie’s malaise.         

Stan Lewis

The basic stage cretin, his only redeeming quality is that being human, he will die.      
Mike Aria   

Had he not died almost a year ago he would be 51.  On the surface, he would seem a stereotypical Italian male, masculine and virile, but Marie knew of a deeper goodness in him.       

Aunt Jake  

Mame-like in spirit, she’s a singer on a cruise line.        
Patron 3
Patron 4

A city bureaucrat, he or she loves red tape almost as much as green cash.      
Date One  

A spider mite of a woman, she has less strength than a wet Kleenex.     
Date Two    

She carries her cat in a purse. Enough said.   
Date Three

One would suspect that she drives a big rig    

Beautiful and articulate, this date has a unique quality.   




Opening night fireworks at Starlight Village Players' Aria's

East Bay

Charming Morsel: Rialto Community Players' Aria's

LA Theater


Audience Comments
Rialto Community Players Production:

Can't say enough how much we enjoyed your play.  Brian had never been to a play before and absolutely loved it!


Love how your writing has a lot going on under the surface if you look for it.


How did you know what went on in my head when I lost my husband?

Inland Valley Repertory Production:


Loved Aria's!  A story we can all relate to in the loss of someone and changes in one's life.  Very good!


Good acting and storyline was very colorful.  Very enjoyable!


Excellent production!  Script has both drama and funny witty moments. Plot is perfectly paced.


Really loved this play! Merrill has a gift for humorous as well as poignant dialogue.  Lovely characters perfomed so well by the readers.


Click on the headline above to watch a clip from Act One of Aria's from the Rialto Community Players' 2013 premiere.

Set design by Kerry Jones for the Rialto Community Players' premiere of Aria's.

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