By Josette Keelor -- firstname.lastname@example.org
NEW MARKET -- The Schultz Theatre's upcoming play, "The Odd Couple," ought to be like a familiar, welcome friend for audiences -- the kind who stops by, shares some laughs and whose company never gets old.
The story is about two men "who are best friends, but can't stand each other ... It's a great set up for comedy," says director Michael Gwin.
"It started out as a three-act play," Gwin says, and later became a hit movie and TV show.
David Wood as Felix is a neat freak, and Joe Acker's Oscar cleans when and if he feels like it, so when they become roommates, laughter takes up residence as well.
"So you have the clash, because you have Oscar who's laid back and unorganized, and his roommate who's the opposite," Gwin says.
The cast combines Schultz regulars with some newcomers.
Tim Reger, Daniel Crist, Josh Henderson and Josh Newman play the four poker players in the opening scene , and the ladies upstairs are played by Trish Diachenko and Yvonne Owens, who also is the theater's costume designer and director of the youth theater.
This being Schultz's fourth main stage play in as many months, "We are probably the busiest theater I've ever heard of in my life," Gwin says.
The theater does 12 plays a year -- "Compared to most communities' theaters, which have four," Gwin says -- in addition to four dinner theater shows at Johnny Appleseed restaurant in New Market and five youth theater plays.
"We've been surviving. ... We don't really ever have any breathing time," Gwin says. Still, being able to offer the sort of variety he's hoped for has made the experience entertaining.
"We have done some [comedies], and we have more coming up, you know, we're trying really hard to have variety," he says. They've also offered mysteries and drama, and next month will offer the youth theater's musical, "Little Shop of Horrors."
"When we first started we did a lot of comedies, and we're trying to diversify," Gwin says.
"The Odd Couple" is "just a fun play," Gwin says. "It's a play that people know, people know it well. People know [playwright] Neil Simon, and people know the plot."
"We try to do a variety of things, and this one is just a nice, clean comedy," he says.