By DONNA RYDER
There’s one more weekend of Masquerade Theatre’s production of Neil Simon’s “The Odd Couple” at the Capitol Theatre in downtown Union City.
The play is being directed by Jonathan Johnson, who studied theater and visual arts at the University of Tennessee in Martin.
He has had roles in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” “Little Shop of Horrors,” “Seussical the Musical,” “Mary, Mary” and others. He is also an alumnus of the Twilight Cabaret Theatre Company in Kentucky and has written a few plays, including two which were produced in the black box format at UTM: “Cause and Effect” and “This Fragile Thing We’ve Made.”
For Masquerade Theatre, he has served as an assistant director for Jenny Virgin, Linda St. Clair and Sacchi Doss. He directed a production of “Steel Magnolias” last fall, while simultaneously producing Brian Johnson’s version of “Steel Magnolias.” He has also directed the drama “The Death of Bliss” at UTM and “Mono,” a children’s comedy, for Dresden High School.
His assistant director is Kristen Smith and the producer is Jeannine Cranford. Bob Elderkin is in charge of set design and lighting.
Joining Jonathan Johnson for the production of “The Odd Couple” is his youngest brother, Aaron Scott, who plays Speed. This is Scott’s first major role in a Masquerade Theatre performance, although he has been in other various shows in the past.
The leading roles in “The Odd Couple” are being played by Todd Little as Oscar Madison and Jared Hamlin as Felix Unger.
Little serves on the Masquerade Theatre board of directors and has been a director and assistant director. He has performed in “The Sound of Music,” “Cinderella” and “White Christmas.” He has been involved with Masquerade Theatre for the past seven years.
Little’s wife, Sheila, was recruited for the production as the assistant costumer. She has lent her talent to three other Masquerade Theatre productions: “Polterheist,” “White Christmas” and “The Sound Of Music.”
Jennie Overall is the lead costumer. She began participating in theater with the original Newbern Depot Players in 1992 and has been with Masquerade Theatre for the past 12 years working on stage, back stage and as a board member.
Hamlin has served as choreographer for Masquerade Theatre’s Children’s Workshop and co-director of the teen workshop productions, as well as co-director of the Masquerade Theatre’s Summer Workshops along side Jenny Virgin. He has also taken on the roles of Willard in “Footloose,” Mungojerrie in “Cats” and Phil in “White Christmas,” for which he also served as the choreographer.
Brian Johnson, no relation to the director, plays Roy. The role is his 10th for Masquerade Theatre. His first was in “Annie” in May 2010. He has played Raynerd Chisum in “Christmas Belles” as well as in “Southern Hospitality,” Mr. Pinky in “Hairspray,” Ralph Sheldrake in “White Christmas” and Uncle Henry/Guard of Oz in the 2012 production of “The Wizard of Oz.” He also has experience in community theater in Huntingdon and Paducah, Ky.
John-Alex Warner takes on the role of Murray. A senior at Union City High School, he has appeared in many Masquerade Theatre productions, including the roles of Benjamin in “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat” and in Scarecrow “The Wizard of Oz.” He has also appeared and assisted in the Masquerade Theatre’s Summer Workshops.
Completing the roles of the poker playing buddies is Michael Cochran as Vinnie. The role was played the opening night by Levi Wright. “The Odd Couple” is Cochran’s second Masquerade Theatre production. He played Baron Elberfeld in “The Sound of Music.” Prior to these shows, he said he has not been on the stage since 1979, when he was in high school.
Cochran’s son, Joey, joins him for the production as a one of the stage managers. Brent Cooley, Jonathan Johnson’s cousin, is also a stage manager. Cooley graduated from UTM with a bachelor’s degree in radio broadcasting. He assisted backstage in last season’s production of “Annie” and has had multiple acting roles.
Rounding out the on-stage cast for “The Odd Couple” are UTM theater major Maggie Olmstead as Cecily Pigeon and Karen Saldaña as Gwendolyn Pigeon.
Ms. Olmstead has recently appeared on the Masquerade Theatre stage as the Wicked Witch in “The Wizard of Oz,” Lily St. Regis in “Annie” and as Shelby in “Steel Magnolias.”
Ms. Saldaña has performed in numerous Vanguard plays. This is her first Masquerade Theatre production.
Performances will be Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.
Tickets are $10 and are available in advance from Lanzer Printing and Office Supply in downtown Union City and at the box office prior to each show.
Associate Editor Donna Ryder can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Published in The Messenger 6.6.13