One of the country’s most popular comedies, "Sylvia," directed by Dan Schultz, is set to open Thursday at the Great American Melodrama in Oceano.

A charming love story between husband, wife and dog, A.R. Gurney's play has delighted audiences young and old. For this production, the Melodrama is partnering with Woods Humane Society and the Santa Maria Valley Humane Society to raise awareness of the many pets needing homes in local shelters and rescues.

In "Sylvia," Greg and Kate live a relatively happy life in New York City. Then Greg finds a dog in the park — or she finds him — bearing only the name Sylvia on her tag.

A street-smart mixture of Labrador and poodle, Sylvia becomes a major bone of contention between husband and wife. She offers Greg an escape from the frustrations of his job and the unknowns of middle age. To Kate, Sylvia becomes a rival for affection. And sweet Sylvia thinks Kate just doesn’t understand the relationship between man and dog.

The marriage is put in serious jeopardy until, after a series of hilarious and touching complications, Greg and Kate learn to compromise, and Sylvia becomes a valued part of their lives.

The company consists of four talented actors returning to the Melodrama: Mia Mekjian, as Sylvia, Nicholas Wilder (Greg), Eleise Moore (Kate) and Eb Madson (various roles).

The stage manager for "Sylvia" is Miranda Simonne; musical director, Sarah Wussow; scenic designer, Trevor Flocco; and costume designer, Renee Van Niel.

Following each performance, will be the new vaudeville revue "The 1940’s USO Show," featuring the music of World War II-era USO shows, such as the Andrews Sisters, Glenn Miller and Benny Goodman. Featuring song, dance and comedy, the revue is being helmed by Wussow and choreographed by Sydni Abenido. Joining the acting company is Sarah Raines.

"Sylvia" and "The 1940’s USO Show" will be performed March 8 through April 22. Performances will be Wednesdays, beginning March 14, through Fridays at 7 p.m., Saturdays at 3 and 7 p.m. and Sundays at 6 pm. There is no show Easter Sunday.

Tickets are $21 to $28, with discounts available for groups, seniors, students, active military and children.

For more information and to purchase tickets, call the box office at 805-489-2499 or visit www.americanmelodrama.com.

The Great American Melodrama, located on Highway 1 in Oceano, just three miles south of Pismo Beach, has been providing professional family entertainment on the Central Coast since 1975.