“Can love get past your past?” The Road Theatre Company dares to answer this question, presenting the world premiere of Pursued by Happiness. If you find yourself even slightly inspired by love – or the idea of it – then I invite you to take a trip to North Hollywood and see what unfolds.
Review by Tracy Lynn Schafer
Julie Moore (Avery Clyde) and Frank Orlis (Mark St. Amant), both in their forties and married to their work as biochemists, seem to be an unlikely match for love. Unwilling simply to accept the current state of things, Frank chooses to assume the position of Cupid and create his own fate with Julie. With one bold and perhaps impetuous move, Frank and Julie embark upon their uncertain romance. Julie insists that they both meet their respective partner”™s parents before continuing to the next logical level of love. Unraveling before us, we are introduced to both sets of parents, leaving Frank and Julie to question just how little they truly know about one another, and in turn, love itself.
Mark St. Amant plays Frank, a scientist turned far-fetched hopeless romantic. Amant does such a fine job balancing the nerdy biochemist with humor and subtle charm that I found myself giddily enchanted by his character. Secretly rooting for him from beginning to end, Amant is a joy to watch. Another remarkable aspect of Pursued by Happiness were the two actors responsible for playing the roles of Frank and Julie”™s parents, Elizabeth Herron and Tom Knickerbocker. Playing dual roles with such success, I found myself quickly perusing the program to confirm they were in fact the same actors. These were superb performances.
Written by Keith Huff, Pursued by Happiness is his second production to be performed at The Road Theatre Company, the critically acclaimed hit The Bird and Mr. Banks being the first. Huff is perhaps best known for writing A Steady Rain, which recently featured Daniel Craig and Hugh Jackman performing on Broadway. Love is so often the underlying theme in any story, new or old, however, Huff puts his own spin on things with Pursued by Happiness.
Currently playing at The Road Theatre Company, Pursued by Happiness closes on Saturday, May 14th, 2011.
Pursued by Happiness
5108 Lankershim Blvd.
North Hollywood, CA 91602
Runs until, Saturday May 14th, 2011
Friday and Saturday, 8pm
Pay-What-You-Want Sunday, March 27th and Friday, April 1st
Approximately 90 minutes, with no intermission
Purchase tickets here or call (877) 369-9112
About the theatre:
In July, 1991 a group of dedicated theatre artists and administrators came together to form The Other Side of the Hill Productions, Inc. a.k.a. The Road Theatre Company. A non-profit corporation that produces theatre under the Actors”™ Equity Association 99-Seat Plan. The Road Theatre Company has enjoyed an amazing nineteen-year history, having been honored with:
9 Los Angeles Drama Critics”™ Circle Awards
15 Los Angeles Stage Alliance Ovation Awards
4 L.A. Weekly Awards
35 Back Stage West Garland Critics Citations Awards
5 Robby Awards
67 Valley Theatre League Artistic Director Achievement (ADA) Awards
10 “Critic’s Choice”- Los Angeles Times
16 “Pick of the Week/Recommended/Go”- L.A. Weekly
14 “Critic’s Pick”- Back Stage West
Additionally, the company received the 2003 Back Stage West Landmark Award for Sustained Excellence in Theatre and the prestigious 1998 Los Angeles Drama Critics”™ Circle Margaret Harford Award for Sustained Excellence in Theatre. The Road Theatre Company is committed to the most meaningful and dangerous of theatre missions- New Work for the Stage. Its accomplishment of artistic excellence combined with outstanding production value, prompted the L.A. Weekly in 2010 to proclaim The Road Theatre Company “One of the best theatres of the Decade” and the NoHo News to describe the company as “one of the finest venues for the newest and best American dramas.” The Road”™s commitment to producing and developing new work has led to numerous plays being published and developed into film projects, including:
“The Chisholm Trail Went Through Here”
“My Last Confession”
“In the Name of the People”
“Visas and Virtue” (winner of the 1998 Academy Award for Best Live Action Short)
The Road Theatre is committed to community service and educational outreach and for nearly 15 years has been designated the resident company of the Historic Lankershim Arts Center by the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs. LAC provides over 60 hours of arts programming per week at little or no cost to the community, including programs dedicated to visual art, dance, writing, music and live theatre. Located in the heart of the NoHo Arts District, the company has provided numerous outreach programs forging strong links to the community. Most recently, the company has been selected by META Corporation to serve as resident theatre company of a new state of the art 76-seat venue, breaking ground soon in North Hollywood. “The Road on Riverton” will serve as a second stage; enabling The Road Theatre Company to further expand its programming, reach a wider audience and provide a respectful and nurturing environment in which artists can engage with their work.