The recent production of “The Odd Couple” brought memories of earlier productions in 1968 and 1988. Memories of the different antics of our first “odd couple,” Bob Goldish and Ty Bujold, are sharp and funny yet today. Neil Simon’s characters seem timeless, and, although situations change, the unusual humor of person to person remains the same. The second “odd couple,” John P. McLoughlin and David Michelson in 1988 was comprised of great memories for those of us who saw these shows – the first at 12th Avenue East , directed by Vincent Seguin, and the 2nd in our “new” theater on Michigan Street, directed by Donn L. Hanson. Vince, now age 94, lives in Charleston, S.C. and was happy to share his memories of that show in a phone call this last week.
And now a return to our 50 Years memories. Our season 1963-1964 opened with “Breath of Spring.” Directed by Heath Finch Morton, it had a small cast with many memorable names: Audrey McEwen, Jack McGrath, Mary Aufderheide, Blanche Little, Betty Martin, and Lois McKIbbin. On November 15, 1964, The Minneapolis Tribune printed a great story of our history. It was accompanied by pictures from our files of the first production of “Dark Lady of the Sonnets” and our 50th anniversary production with Heath Finch Morton, Fred Meltzer, Coralee Sabin, and Herb Taylor, plus photos of the Playhouse, then Christian Science Church on 1st St., and “now” (12th Avenue East.) It also included a statement we believed true at the time, “The Duluth Playhouse is the oldest community theater in the nation.” The article was well written, well documented, and a tribute from Minneapolis to Duluth. The “oldest” was challenged in the 70’s by the National Association of Community Theaters and a theater in New England. They challenged our first few dark years when the organization produced no plays but continued to meet, read plays, have theater speakers, and other activities. More about the challenge and other bits of history in another newsletter during this 100th year.