Cast prepares to play mismatched roommates in ‘The Odd Couple’

January 10, 2012

Chris Ensweiler (left, as Felix Unger) and Charles Leggett (as Oscar Madison) act a scene from the Village Theatre production of ‘The Odd Couple.’ By John Pai/Village Theatre

The journey to portray fastidious Felix Unger and untidy Oscar Madison in Village Theatre’s “The Odd Couple” suited the actors in the lead roles.

Charles Leggett, as Oscar in the classic Neil Simon play, is the more rumpled half. Chris Ensweiler is more comfortable as the neatnik Felix.

“I’m no neat freak — I can tell you that,” Leggett said in the Village Theatre lobby about a month before “The Odd Couple” opened.

Ensweiler, meanwhile, readied to portray Oscar’s mismatched roommate.

“I’m very fastidious and organized,” Ensweiler said. “CDs are alphabetized. Clothes are arranged according to color. I certainly respond very well to that.”

“The Odd Couple” opens to audiences at the downtown Issaquah playhouse Jan. 18.

Village Theatre presents a single play each season. “The Odd Couple” falls into the 2011-12 season lineup after the Wild West spectacle “Annie Get Your Gun” and before the original musical “It Shoulda Been You.”

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Broadway beckons Village Theatre musicals

February 15, 2011

Musicals nurtured at Issaquah theater charm audiences and rack up awards in the Big Apple

Tony Award-winning actress Alice Ripley (center, seated) leads the ‘Next to Normal’ cast in a performance at the Arena Stage, the musical’s last stop before debuting on Broadway. By Joan Marcus

The brick-and-glass theater along a fashionable street in Oslo, Norway, seems like a strange place to re-create Yankee suburbia.

Onstage, “Next to Normal” — a rock musical fostered in Issaquah — is about to be performed. The story about a suburban — and quite American — family straining against mental illness has been translated into Norwegian for the international premiere.

The debut last September marked a milestone for the musical. “Next to Normal” had already stormed Broadway — earning Tony Awards and the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Drama in the process.

Before the accolades and Oslo, “Next to Normal” emerged in a Village Theatre program designed to foster original musicals.

The long-running program has cemented the reputation of the downtown Issaquah playhouse as a cradle for Broadway.

Village Theatre cultivated “Next to Normal” and the jukebox musical “Million Dollar Quartet” from unpolished ideas to splashy Broadway musicals in recent years.

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Village Theatre’s ‘42nd Street’ seeks to dazzle audiences

May 4, 2010

Get ready for a tap dancing good time as your favorite Broadway tunes come to life with exciting new choreography in the show-stopping, backstage tale of “42nd Street.”

The show debuts May 13 on Village’s Mainstage and closes out a year of celebrating the historic theater’s 30 years in Issaquah.

Pulling out all the stops, the show boasts a large cast of 26 that celebrates local actors and designers, like Bob Dahlstrom, who did the scenic design for “Show Boat,” and costumer Melanie Burgess, who created designs for “Chasing Nicolette” and “Stunt Girl.”

Audiences will follow the story of star-struck Peggy Sawyer, a fresh-from-the-farm Pennsylvanian, as she receives her first big break in New York after the star of her show is injured during a rehearsal. Her dreams unfold, surpassing even her wildest, as audiences enjoy their favorite Broadway musical tunes, like “We’re in the Money,” “Shuffle Off to Buffalo,” and “Lullaby of Broadway.”

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Hijinks, hilarity ensue in ‘Chasing Nicolette’

September 22, 2009

Kate Jaeger (Nun), Tanesha Ross (Nicolette), Nick DeSantis (Valere) and Matthew Kacergis (Aucassin) star in Village Theatre’s production of ‘Chasing Nicolette.’ By by Jay Koh/Property of Village Theatre

Kate Jaeger (Nun), Tanesha Ross (Nicolette), Nick DeSantis (Valere) and Matthew Kacergis (Aucassin) star in Village Theatre’s production of ‘Chasing Nicolette.’ By by Jay Koh/Property of Village Theatre

How do you spell fun? C-H-A-S-I-N-G N-I-C-O-L-E-T-T-E.

That’s Village Theatre’s production of “Chasing Nicolette,” playing now on the local mainstage until Oct. 25.

Or maybe it’s N-I-C-K D-E-S-A-N-T-I-S.

That’s Nick DeSantis, the actor who plays Valere and nearly steals the show with his hilarity, hijinks and outrageousness.

You honestly may never see anyone funnier on a stage.

But every cast member is great and you’ll find yourself enjoying the particular vocal and comedic talents of each and every one. The voice of Timothy McCuen Piggee (playing King) is especially deep and sultry.

The silliness begins in the first scene with the musical’s 10 characters singing about life in the year 1224. It continues throughout the production, never really letting up. Read more

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Theater marks 30th season with new musical

September 15, 2009

Tanesha Ross (left) stars as Nicolette and Matthew Kacergis is Aucassin in the Village Theatre production of ‘Chasing Nicolette.’ By John Pai / Property of Village Theatre

Tanesha Ross (left) stars as Nicolette and Matthew Kacergis is Aucassin in the Village Theatre production of ‘Chasing Nicolette.’ By John Pai / Property of Village Theatre

Village Theatre’s new musical, “Chasing Nicolette,” debuts Sept. 16 and promises to light up the stage as summer comes to a close.

“It is particularly exciting for me to open our 30th anniversary season with a wonderful new musical,” said Robb Hunt, executive director of Village Theatre. “Since I’ve been here all 30 years, I can say that it feels like quite an accomplishment to be established nationally as one of the few organizations which develops and nurtures new musicals that achieve national exposure. It is a key part of our mission and after 30 years, we are really doing it with two new musicals in the season.”

The year is 1224. War, hatred and prejudice fill the lands between Europe and the Middle East, but despite these obstacles, two young lovers — Christian nobleman Aucassin, played by Matthew John Kacergis, and a Muslim princess, played by Tanesha Ross — find a place for love. Read more

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Program makes theater membership affordable

May 19, 2009

As a young professional, it can be hard to savor the finer things in life when your budget is a shoestring, but Village Theatre can help you combat the lack of art in your life with a sweet deal. Read more

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Village Theatre announces its 30th anniversary season

April 13, 2009

Village Theatre announced its 2009-10 Mainstage schedule, its 30th anniversary season. It boasts a collection of shows never before produced for the Village Theatre Mainstage.

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