Way Off Broadway, But Still Great
Think about working off that big dinner by laughing madly at the Neil Simon play offered by Act IV Productions on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Here's an article I submitted to the media about featured actor John Boucher:
For John Boucher, the fourth time was the charm.
The veteran community theater actor had been nominated three times before for a “Perry” award from the New Jersey Association of Community Theaters It was finally his role in Act IV Productions’ “Over the River and Through the Woods” that won him the 2007-08 Perry for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play.
“I was thrilled,” Boucher said. “I was delighted.”
Boucher, 81, came to New Jersey from Massachusetts 32 years ago. While attending community theater events here, he said so many times that he’d like to try acting himself that his wife one day handed him the local newspaper and pointed out an audition notice. Soon he was a member of Franklin Community Players and launched on a 30-year love affair with the stage. He estimates he has been in 40 plays, both drama and comedy, and has worked with four or five theater groups.
Asked why he took up acting after the age of 50, Boucher quipped, “I ‘m a show-off, that’s why.”
But he added, “I love theater. It’s just thrilling to be on the stage.”
NJACT honored the 2007-08 nominees and winners with a gala in September.
Boucher’s next performance will again be with Act IV, as the cranky retired vaudeville star Willie Clark in Neil Simon’s “The Sunshine Boys.” Willie reluctantly agrees to a reunion with his partner, Al Lewis, played by Renato Biribin, to bring back their act, Lewis and Clark, for a television show on the history of comedy. But the partners’ off-stage dislike for each other stands in the way and creates the humor that has made the Simon play a hit over more than 30 years on stage, film and television.
Besides Boucher, a Franklin (Somerset) resident, and Biribin of South Plainfield, the Act IV production includes cast members Frank Doran of Roselle Park, Peter Jones of North Plainfield, Milt Rowan of Dunellen and Gail Sweeney of Clark. The director is Cass Cochrane of Colonia and producers are Gail Pollak of Westfield and Barbara VanSavage of Fanwood.
If you go: Performances are 8 p.m. on Nov. 21, 22, 28 and 29 and 3 p.m. on Nov. 30 in the Parish Hall of First Unitarian Society of Plainfield, 724 Park Ave., Plainfield. Tickets are $15. Call (908) 756-0750 for reservations or more information.
For a glimpse at the production that led to the award, click here.