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La Mesan Channels Lucille Ball, Lisa Kudrow in New Dinner Comedy

Anna Eblen will star in "Once Upon a Wedding" premiering on Valentine's Day at Lafayette Hotel.

This Valentine’s Day, La Mesa resident Anna Eblen, 27, will take center stage in the musical comedy Once Upon a Wedding.

The dinner comedy—at San Diego’s Lafayette Hotel on Feb. 14 and Feb. 15—tells the story of Daisy Dudley and Davis Do-Wright and their wedding day, which is filled with mayhem.

Eblen, a longtime performer and pageant queen, has starred in plays such as Gypsy and Oliver. She’s also performed in the Mesto Symphony Orchestra and was invited to perform for Queen Noor of Jordan.

She recently gave Patch the scoop on her role in this new production.

Patch: Tell us about the play and the character you play.

Eblen: Debbie is a fun-loving, happy hippie who makes a positive out of any negative situation. She is a very colorful character and free-spirited. Debbie is best friends with Daisy (bride)—and they have known each other all their lives and have always hoped one day they would become real sisters. She introduced Davis (her brother and groom) to Daisy.

The day of the wedding has come and Debbie is beside herself with joy that her lifelong wish is coming true, but disaster strikes on the wedding as all of the guests have been trapped in Mexico. Optimistic Debbie keeps trying to cheer up her brother, Davis, after Daisy runs away after finding out the bad news.

Patch: What challenges did you face while playing this character?

Eblen: Debbie is the opposite of my own personality. I had to become in-tune with a more earthy personality while creating my own interpretation of her character. I felt Debbie was smart yet a little airheaded at times while totally in-tune and completely oblivious all at the same time. She is a very funny character and timing is really key with her. She is a cross between Lucille Ball and Lisa Kudrow’s character on [the TV show] Friends. 

Patch: How did you become an actor? What/who is your inspiration? 

Eblen: I started at a very young age mimicking voices and sounds. As I got older, my mother put me in San Diego Children’s Choir, tap, jazz, ballet, gymnastics and figure skating. I trained classically as an opera singer for 15 years. In college, I took costuming, makeup and set building classes. Though I could sing in front of anyone, I always had a phobia of speaking in front of any audience. I decided to jump into musical theatre since I could tackle that fear and still sing. I fell in love with it.

Patch: What’s next for you?

Eblen: I’d very much like to pick up where I left off in my music career.

Tickets for Once Upon a Wedding range from $49.95 to $94.95 and includes dinner. For more information, visit laughingtreeproductions.com/Once_Upon_A_Wedding.html

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