The Hale Center Theater, 2801 S. Main, will get its 1989 season off to a humorous start with a revival of one of the company's most requested plays, Norman Krasna's Broadway comedy, "Dear Ruth."

Directed by Richard G. Wilkins (best known to HCT patrons as Ebenezer Scrooge in "A Christmas Carol"), the comedy - which was also the basis for a movie starring William Holden - is set during World War II.Ruth is a young woman who suddenly finds a veritable parade of soldiers and sailors on her doorstep as a result of her younger sister, Miriam, who has written to troops overseas and included a snapshot - not of herself, but of her more beautiful and mature older sister, Ruth.

Miriam's nice idea quickly goes awry when the boys start coming home on furlough just to meet Ruth.

"Dear Ruth" is the first of two World War II era plays to be presented this coming season at HCT. It will be followed by "The Hasty Heart," Feb. 23-April 17.

Wilkins' cast includes himself and Bob Walkingshaw, who will alternate in the role of Judge Wilkins - a man who has the rather unfortunate luck to be Ruth's father. Edith, the judge's wife, will be played alternately by Melany Wilkins and Sally Hale Swenson.

Others in the cast are Sarah Sandberg and Joanne Taylor (Ruth), Brooke Wilkins, Leea Swenson and Becky Folsom (Miriam); Jared Shaver and Jon Hale (as William Seawright); John Lesko and Carl Barton (as the stuffy Albert, Ruth's fiance); Jennifer Wolf and Erin Smith (as Martha Seawright); Bob Bedore and Will Swenson (as Chuck Vincent, Martha's love interest); Virgie Ostler and Kris Roller (as Dora, the maid), and N. Kurk Holshue as Harold Kobermeyer.

Holshue is also the stage manager.

"Dear Ruth" opens Thursday and continues on Thursdays-Saturdays and Mondays at 8 p.m. through Feb. 20. There will also be a Saturday matinee at 3:30 p.m. on Feb. 4. There may be additional performances scheduled on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Tickets: $6 on Fridays and Saturdays, $5 on weekdays ($4 on Monday evenings), and $5 for the Saturday matinee. All children's tickets are $4.

There will also be two special performances on New Year's Eve at 7 and 10 p.m. All seats for these performances are $8, including refreshments and noise-makers.

Reservations are advised. Call 484-9257 or stop at the theater box office (10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily except Sunday).

Season tickets are still available for the 1989 season: $32 for adults, $16 for children. A season ticket includes all seven plays on the calendar. Group rates and fund-raising packages also are available.