Howard and Leah were high school sweethearts, but when his dad got transferred, Howard moved away before his senior year. Unless you believe that rumor about Leah being pregnant. Fast forward several years. Okay, several decades. Leah looks up Howard and the two take up where they left off, albeit from a distance. And suddenly the two, now nearly senior citizens, decide to be wed while they’re still (almost) young enough to enjoy marriage.
And so begins the hilarity that is Ron Hill’s adorable comedy, Harmony Romances. The show is directed by Rod Poling, with able support from assistant director Billie Harmon, backstage manager Kay Doak, and costume director Robin Parsons. While Howard, played by Jeff Walker, and Leah, played by Jena Blair, are quite a cute couple, they turn out not to be the only one. But more on that later. The ensemble cast is made up of Kevin Knapp as Pastor Bob, Renee Hennes as his wife Marilyn, Sherri Knapp as Grace, Anita Newhart as Addie, Mack McHale as Russell and Leslie McGaron as Maud. And the entire cast does a fine job.
Maud, the funeral lady at the local church where the action all takes place, is working with her friends Addie, Grace, and Marilyn to put on a shower for the newly engaged Leah. The plans are made more complicated by the fact that Addie is such an airhead no one can keep up with her zany train of thought. In fact, even as the group is trying to work in secret, Addie announces to Leah that it would be great fun if they threw her a shower. Maud, the undeniable boss of the group, and Grace, who never seems to be able to quit worrying about finding a dress that doesn’t make her, ahem, caboose, look big, are disappointed when Leah puts a halt to the shower idea. In the meantime, soon-to-be groom Howard and Russell, the recently dried out custodian of the church, are certain they know each other but can’t place from where. Russell’s mind is distracted anyway, because, now that he’s sober, he’s finally noticing just how attractive Maud is. And the feeling is mutual.
The action really picks up in the second act on the day of the wedding, which might just not happen, thanks to the Mexican food from the rehearsal dinner the night before. Hopefully to no one’s surprise, all ends well after a generous helping of laugh-out-loud jokes and hilariously embarrassing situations.
This show is both sweet and funny. It’s all about the joy of finding love later in life and it’s just plain fun. I highly recommend you see it. The curtain goes up on Friday, September 21 at 8:00 p.m. at the Mid-Ohio Valley Players Theatre, at 229 Putnam Street in Marietta. Subsequent evening performances will take place on September 22, 28, and 29. Matinees will take place at 3:00 p.m. on September 23 and 30. Tickets are available Marty’s Print Shop, Marietta CVB, and www.movp.org.