Centerstage to present ‘Odd Couple’ play

Xavier Smith • Updated Feb 2, 2017 at 12:00 PM

The Centerstage Theatre Co. will bring an entertainment classic to Wilson County as the group will present “The Odd Couple,” marking a year of community production in Lebanon. 

The production will be the first time Centerstage co-founder Mitchell Vantrease has stepped back on the stage in a role since his return from Arizona four years ago. 

“It’s an opportunity for me to step out from behind the scene with directing and production,” said Vantrease, who founded the theatre group with Brady Quisberg last year. 

Vantrease will star as Felix Ungar, while Hartsville comedic veteran Nick Woodruff will take the stage as Vantrease’s opposite in Oscar Madison. Vantrease said “The Odd Couple” is traditionally performed with an all-white cast, but the production allows for flexibility in characters such as “Steel Magnolias.”

“We’re really trying to bring back home and community, so up on that stage, we are all a community. There are some plays that be done with a diverse cast and this is one of those,” said Vantrease, who said the timing was right for him to get back on the stage. 

“I usually do a lot of comedy anyways, but finding the right director was important. We didn’t want to be stretched too thin,” Vantrease said. 

Ethan Jones, who starred in the group’s production of “Fences,” will direct “The Odd Couple.” Vantrease said Jones is familiar with Neil Simon’s work, so the timing appeared to be perfect.

Vantrease said the role reversal of the two, along with the timing of the opening date for “Odd Couple,” almost exactly a year since the first production, “A Raisin’ in the Sun,” is ironic. 

“I can’t believe it’s been a year, actually. It’s gone by so fast,” said Vantrease, who said the production would have a lighter tone than some of the others. 

“We’re just having fun with it,” he said. 

The show runs Feb. 17-19 and Feb. 24-26. Friday and Saturday shows start at 7:30 p.m. with Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. at Market Street Community Center. For tickets, visit brownpapertickets.com or call 615-547-3697. Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for seniors.

The group will also have auditions for “To Kill a Mockingbird,” which will require the largest cast the group has assembled so far. Auditions will be Feb. 20-21 from 6:30-9 p.m. at Lebanon Church of God.

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