Attendance figures for last weekend’s production of "The Odd Couple" (numbers do not include cast & crew):
How does that compare? This is very typical attendance for a February show, which is the generally a smaller cast and least attended show of the season. The director’s proposal estimated attendance would be 400. Not a bad guesstimate!
The lights went out last night on the Joan Kuyper Farver auditorium stage. In an hour, Olive Madison’s New York apartment was gone. The remnants of her messy apartment were returned to storage, or to their owners. Another successful production is over for Union Street Players.
The show averaged just over 100 audience members per performance which is very typical of a February production. Most importantly, those who came loved the show. The cast received a standing ovation and the Saturday night crowd gave Mark Moreland and Greg May’s Costazuela Brothers an ovation each time they left the stage.
Many thanks to the cast and crew who helped bring the production together. Along with the stellar cast, we had invaluable help from Shawn Jensen, D.C. Felton, Pat Moriarity, Peg Moriarity, Doug DeWolf, Jamie Kacur, Martin Wesseman, and Cheryl De Heer. Thanks also goes out to the many who volunteered to help usher.
USP now takes a "breather" to get some things cleaned up and organized (stay tuned for opportunities to help!). Auditions for The Pirates of Penzance are scheduled for May.
The Friday night audience filed into the Pella Community Center and we knew there had been good word spreading about what a funny, entertaining show "The Odd Couple" has been. The crowd on Friday night was almost twice as big as opening night. The 154 audience members left few empty seats on the main floor of the auditorium.
Cheesecake and coffee has been a hit, as well. We planned refreshments based on the amount we sold at last year’s production of "Morning’s at Seven". While attendance has been lower than last year’s show, we’ve been going through more food and coffee. People must be hungrier this year!
If they are hungry for laughter, they are getting their fill from The Odd Couple. Cast and crew noticed that Friday night’s audience was a bit slower to respond (compared to the quick laughter of Thursday’s audience), but once the crowd started laughing, they wouldn’t stop. It was like a slow rolling ocean wave that just built and built and built. Actors had to hold their lines all night, waiting for the crowd to stop laughing.
People are having fun, and that’s the main thing. Union Street Player’s mission is fulfilled. Said one audience member on the way out, "Now THAT was an evening of quality theatre!" Another added, "Such a great show AND cheesecake for $6.00. You can’t beat it!!"
Tickets remain for the final two performances, but we are encouraging people to arrive early!
Thursday night audiences are notorious for needing a little help getting "warmed up". It’s not yet the weekend, it’s February, it’s cold – whatever the reason – you usually find that the Thursday audiences are a bit more reserved.
But NOT last night!
The audience who filed into the Joan Kuyper Farver auditorium in the Pella Community Center to watch the opening night of Neil Simon’s "The Odd Couple" ended up warming the cast up with the laughter and energy. The audience laughed, and laughed and laughed some more which energized the cast to a spectacular performance.
The crowd also enjoyed the cheesecake and coffee, which USP served on a free-will donation basis during intermission. The conversation was lively and people were laughing and enjoying themselves so much that they had to be urged to get back to their seats for the second act.
The cast received a warm ovation and, while many audience members handed their programs back to be "recycled" there were plenty who wanted to take them so they could tell family, friends, and co-workers to come see the show!
Get your tickets now and tell your friends to hurry. There are only three performances left. Friday night is selling fast and both Saturday and Sunday tend to have big walk up audiences.
Photo: (L-R) Sheryl Vander Linden, Wendy Vander Well, Jana De Zwarte, Cyndi Atkins, and Lana Pol
Part of the magic that happens in any stage production is when the bare, empty stage is transformed to transport audiences to a distant time and place. Recently, Union Street Players have taken audiences to the streets of River City (The Music Man), the back yards of two houses in the 1930′s (Morning’s at Seven) and a New Hampshire town Thornton Wilder made famous called Grover’s Corners (Our Town).
The cast and crew of USP’s current production, Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple, are transforming the stage of the Joan Kuyper Farver auditorium into a New York apartment circa 1985. The play takes place in a two-bedroom, twelfth floor apartment. To accomplish this, "flats" are used to make the walls. A light wood frame covered with muslin is held in place by wood braces fastened to the back of the stage or the floor. Most flats are four feet in width and between eight and 12 feet tall. They are fastened together with simple hinges or brackets and the seams are covered in masking tape.
There are challenges with every set and the challenge with this set is the five doors and one window used in the play. Besides the front door, there is a kitchen door, two bedroom doors and a bathroom door that will be used by the actors. Fortunately, one cast member has several matching doors in storage that were able to utilize (Welcome to Community Theatre – scrounge for it – find it – use it!).
Once the flats are in place, you paint and trim out the doors. Voila’! You have a two bedroom apartment! Many thanks to the cast, their spouses and children who have been helping these past few weeks to get the set constructed.
YOU are invited to join in the fun! We have another workday schedule next Saturday afternoon, February 9th. Anyone is welcome to come in and help. The theatre will be open from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Just drop by the community center!