What do you get when you put a group of male actors, many new, all friends but one off stage, on stage as friends? Did that question sound odd? You get the Virgin Valley Theatre Group’s version of Neil Simon’s the Odd Couple; try watching and you’ll understand.

Mark Guertin (Speed), Gary Williams (Vinnie), Mike Schultz (Murray), Ted Ung (Roy) and John Sadler (Oscar Madison) are all Sun City residents, friends and fellow theatre supporters. There’s a camaraderie among them that fits the feel of the script and is apparent during the poker game that opens the show.

In comes the ‘outsider’ to the group both on and off stage, Chad Calmelat (Felix Unger). The other characters and actors know him, have worked and played with him but they aren’t close. Only the characters of Oscar and Felix are really good friends but the actors all mesh well both in and out of character.

Felix comes into the mix depressed, having just been kicked out of his home by his wife who wants a divorce. The friends are concerned and fearful for their poker buddy. They just don’t know what Felix might do in his present state; the situation gets very awkward and wonderfully funny.

Things get even more humorous and outrageous when you throw in a couple of ‘stranger’ women. Kimberly Gilbert (Gwendolyn Pigeon) and Nanette Greener (Cecily Pigeon)

In a very awkward moment, Oscar Madison (John Sadler) consoles and attempts to rub the crick out of friend Felix Unger’s (Chad Calmelat) neck before they settle down for the night in the Virgin Valley Theatre Group’s version of Neil Simon’s the Odd Couple which opens at the Mesquite Community Theatre on Jan. 27. Photo by Teri Nehrenz

are brand new to the Virgin Valley Theatre Group and to the guys off stage although they attempt to get very familiar with both Oscar and Felix onstage; talk about hilarity. The situation can’t get any more awkward when Felix…well, why spoil the surprise; you’ll just have to see the show.

The men and women who make up the cast of the Odd Couple have been working hard developing the characters, learning the lines and bringing that awkward and very odd factor to the Mesquite Community Theatre’s stage.

The show opens Jan. 27 and the actors are all feeling very odd. They feel as if they’re working their way through a train wreck. They are unsure of their lines, wondering, “Will I remember them?” They feel as awkward as their characters are supposed to look and they are exactly where they should be at this point.

The guys try to calm and console their buddy Felix Unger played by actor Chad Calmelat in the Virgin Valley Theatre Group’s version of Neil Simon’s the Odd Couple which opens at the Mesquite Community Theatre on Jan. 27. Other cast members include: John Sadler (Oscar Madison), Gary Williams (Vinny), Ted Ung (Roy), Mark Guertin (Speed), Mike Schultz (Murray), Kimberly Gilbert (Gwendolyn Pigeon) and Nanette Greener (Cecily Pigeon). The Odd Couple is directed by Glen Bjornson. Photo by Teri Nehrenz

Every actor, stage manager and director faces this point in any production. They all feel the same way, thinking, “This will never come together.” The fact of the matter is, it always does and the feelings aren’t unique to the novice actors; the seasoned ones have felt this many times before.

When you throw in one of the funniest scripts ever written, a top notch director with a proven track record of putting together great casts, has a penchant for comedy and builds and designs phenomenal sets, any production is already half way to being wonderful.

This cast of awkward friends and their ‘odd’ characters are going to hit this production out of the ball park; they just don’t know it yet.

Show dates are: Jan. 27, 28, Feb. 3, 4, 10 and 11 @ 7 p.m. Jan. 29 and Feb. 5 @ 2 p.m. Tickets are $15 and available at Danielle’s Chocolates, Mesquite Chamber of Commerce, Mesquite Fine Arts Gallery, the Mesquite Community Theatre box office 30 minutes prior


to show times or online at www.vvtgnv.com.