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A night at the theater

Published: Wednesday, June 11, 2014 11:41 a.m. CDT

Last December, as I was being interviewed for the “Get to Know Newton” promotional video, I was asked a question that I couldn’t answer honestly or thoroughly.

That question pertained to the Newton Community Theatre.

It rarely happens, but I was not only tongue tied, I truly didn’t have much to say. I hadn’t written much about the theatre, at the time, nor had I seen a performance there yet; so I was clueless. I knew they had won national awards, I knew they were nonprofit and that’s about it.

It’s a bit of a pet peeve of mine to not be in the know on something. One of the many things I love about working for a newspaper is the information gathering aspect.

I took my tongue tied and blank response moment, during my interview, to heart and made a vow to myself that I was at least going to see a show at NCT this year.

I’m a little unique in the sense that I hate most musicals, but I generally love plays. I’ve seen “Phantom of the Opera” on Broadway, “Thriller Live!” — a musical based on the Michael Jackson’s music — in London and various shows all over Kansas City.

Yes, I know some of these were musicals, but Phantom was the cheapest ticket I could find in NYC, and I love Michael Jackson’s music more than you can imagine — I couldn’t miss my chance to see that show.

With that promise to myself in mind, and wanting to be able to give factual information about one of our local amenities, it was finally time to add seeing a show at NCT to my “Get to Know Newton” bucket list.

This past Friday, Kate Malott, my coworker/surrogate sister, and I ventured out to NCT to see the 7 p.m. performance of “The Odd Couple.” I had been pretty anxious to see this show since Jaime Grout first pitched the idea of me doing a preview story on it back in April.

It was worth my wait.

I truly enjoyed myself on Friday, and it was great to see such terrific acting and production values on the local level. If you don’t believe me about the production values, the LP collection in Oscar and Felix’s apartment contained actual Frank Sinatra, Ann Murray and Sonny & Cher records. I was also informed that record player “prop” still functions.

There was definite chemistry with this cast and I felt it. I enjoyed the character development, the well done New York accents added to the authenticity and I wanted to participate in the guys’ poker night. I also felt general tension and discomfort when Felix, in my opinion, started blowing his and Oscar’s double date night with the buxom British beauties from upstairs.

I had never seen “The Odd Couple” before, and I discovered I had some things in common with both main characters, Oscar and Felix. Both men wrote the news; I share Oscar’s affinity for a nice drink and my apartment looks about as messy as his. I’m just as handy in the kitchen as Felix, I share his love of organization and scheduling and I’m just as cheap.

I’m going try to keep a better ledger of every penny I spend now, thanks for the tip Felix!

After a great performance from the actors, NCT board member Harvey Olsthoorn invited Kate and I go to go backstage. We got to tour the theatre, meet the actors and crew and see how all the magic is made.

(P.S. I know where I’m going to find my next Halloween costume).

NCT is quite the impressive organization and I’m glad I finally got to not only work with them; I got to enjoy a great night out in my own back yard. I’m not saying the Des Moines Civic Center should watch its back, but I’d stay on my toes if I were them.

Class of ’44

I just want to take some time out to thank the Newton Senior High School class of 1944 for inviting me to come out and cover them on Saturday. I had a wonderful time and it was a great honor to meet so many members of the Greatest Generation.

Senior staff writer Ty Rushing may be contacted at (641) 792-3121, ext. 426, or at trushing@newtondailynews.com.

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