(Photo by Jake Marsh, Staff)
From July 27-30, the Sikeston Little Theatre will perform its own rendition of Neil Simon's classic theater production, "The Odd Couple."
The cast of the Little Theatre production, made up of six men and two women, and the crew members may not be made up of mismatched personalities, but there is no arguing the diversity of the group.
"We have people from Sikeston to Charleston acting in the play," said Barbara Palmer, director. "We have people who have never been on a stage before and actors that have been involved in theater their entire lives. We have bank examiners and high school teachers; all brought together by theater."
Even the backstage workers range from the age of 8 to 56.
The play has been a joint effort by the actors and director to meld all of these personalities together and perform a successful play.
Palmer and the two lead actors, Matt Ryan, a theater major at Missouri Southern State University, and Brian Fisk, who has acted in numerous Little Theatre productions, are spreading their knowledge of theater to the other actors, including first-time actor Paul Adell.
"This is my first time on stage. I drove by and saw the sign for open auditions and thought I would try something new," said Adell, who plays Murray in the production. "These guys have been teaching me everything they know about acting, especially the two lead roles. They are really talented actors and I like to learn by just watching them."
Even for Palmer, who has been involved in the Little Theatre for many years, this play is something new.
"This is my first time directing. I was a little worried about it, but the cast and crew came through for me," said Palmer. "It has been great working with them."
The road to show-time has not been incredibly easy for Palmer, but she said things are coming together better than expected.
"During auditions it looked as if we might not have enough men to fill the parts, and within the first two weeks of rehearsal I had to recast one of my main characters," said Palmer. "But now, everything is looking great."
The actors are rehearsing four days a week and are now doing full runs of the play.
"There is still work to be done but we are further along than I anticipated," said Palmer. "All the big stuff is done, now we are just putting the finishing touches on everything."
Learning lines and making time for practice has not been easy for the actors either, but all agree there are no regrets.
"It is very time-consuming, but I have heard that once the curtain opens and the lights come on, it will all become worthwhile," said Adell.
The play has already received a good amount of support from Sikeston and surrounding communities.
"We have already sold out the middle section for each night's performance," said Palmer. "There are still plenty of tickets left on either side though. For a summer comedy, the support has been great. We hope ticket sales keep up at this pace."
Palmer credits the high ticket sales to the popularity of the "Odd Couple."
"This is a play that almost everybody is familiar with and everybody loves," said Palmer. "And the concept makes for some good humor that a lot of people can relate to."
Show times are 7 p.m. July 27-29 and 2 p.m. July 30. Tickets are $6 per person and can be purchased at Collins Music in Sikeston.