Notes from Philly

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The Odd Couple: Roy WIlbur’s Other Life

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The Odd Couple
The Road Company
The Grand Theater
405 S. Main St.,
Williamstown, NJ
http://www.RoadCompany.com
856-728-2120
Dec. 4-12
Roy WiIlbur’s better known as a whiz marketing man. The arts administrator with a heart has gone from AVA to Wilmington’s Grand Opera House to Penn’s Annenberg to more recently a senior post at the Pew’ s Center for Arts and Heritage. He started out as a baritone, changed to a tenor. After graduation he performed professionally and has always longed to perform, perform, perform though he gave up singing and acting by 1995. Ironically the post at the Pew has allowed him time in the last two years to perform in four productions– including Lend me a Tenor at The Road Company a respected community theater in Williamstown, South Jersey.
Now he’s Felix, the neurotic, fastidious, about- to- be- divorced irritating best pal to Oscar in Neil Simon’s 1965 play turned- movie- turned- TV series. Wilbur’s appealling as Felix. His sometime nemesis is Damian Muziani, the morning anchor of Myphl17 “Better Philly.” Muziani is making his Road Company debut. The guys are absolute Mutt and Jeffs in physical stature. Roy is 6 foot 7; Muziano’s height and girth I can’t guestimate but his Oscar is a sloppy chunk and so appears much shorter. Their physicality works as well as their good acting. The rest of the casting is uneven with a couple of fine lights including Vic Arlington’s Speed and Danielle DiPiello’s Cecily. After the hamming up of the opening scenes – more Marx Brothers than necessary – things settle in.
Director John Blackwell is also an actor and word is community and professional actors in the region respect him greatly.
Community theater is essential. Grace Kelly got her start in a community theater in East Falls. It’s how professionals sharpen their chops when the paying jobs aren’t there, says Gene Foschini, an actor whose day job for three decades has been mason for the Philadelphia Public Schools. It’s how the new ones learn. Community theater keeps small towns and suburbs vibrant. Not long ago the Road Company bought the Grand Theater, which has been in operation as a playhouse since 1927. It’s a charmer of a 200-seat venue, though the facade itself goes back to earlier in the 19th century.

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Written by Lesley Valdes

December 10, 2009 at 4:49 pm

Posted in 1, Community, Theater

2 Responses

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  1. I wish I knew you were going to see this. I’ve known Roy for years and years. I’m going to try and see it this w/e.

    pat

    December 11, 2009 at 2:14 am


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