Theatre Artists Studio’s ‘Rose and Walsh’ showcases Neil Simon’s humor
August 6, 2018
By Kenneth LaFave
Marney Austin reads a lot of scripts. It’s what you do when you’re a theatre professional. As an actor who’s trod the boards for decades, and as owner of Arizona Performing Arts, Austin learned comedies are rarely funny on paper.
“With most comedies, you don’t laugh, and you have to assume that when you see it on the stage, it will be funny,” Austin said. “But with this script, I laughed out loud. Absolutely cracked up. It’s funny.”
Austin nominated the play to be produced this season by Theatre Artists Studio, a nonprofit owned by the producers, directors and actors who put on the plays. The board accepted the script, and come August 17, Austin will begin a two-week run in the play’s lead role at the company venue, located in Scottsdale at 12406 N. Paradise Village Parkway East, near the intersection of Tatum Boulevard and Cactus Road.
You’ve probably never heard of this hilarious play, called Rose and Walsh. But you’ve heard of its author. Says Austin: “It’s Neil Simon’s last published play. And it’s so him. So funny, but also so very poignant.”
Simon, the legendary playwright whose mega-hits have included The Odd Couple, Chapter Two, Barefoot in the Park and the book for the musical Sweet Charity, wrote a play called Rose’s Dilemma in 2004, but it failed. Eight years later, rewritten and retitled, it came out as Rose and Walsh. According to Austin, this production is only “the fourth or fifth” since the revision came out in 2012.
The plot of Rose and Walsh concerns two writers who have a close personal relationship. When Walsh must leave, he makes Rose “an intriguing proposal.”
Rose and Walsh begins the season for Theatre Artists Studio, with performances August 17 through September 2. For ticket information, visit thestudiophx.org.
The rest of Theatre Artists Studio’s season:
Rabbit Hole, by David Lindsay-Abaire; Sept. 28-Oct. 21. A Pulitzer Prize-winner that addresses the experience of grief.
Inherit the Wind, by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee; Nov. 16-Dec. 9. A classic telling of the famous Scopes Trial.
We Would Like to Propose a Toast; Dec. 15-16. A holiday celebration.
Brilliant Traces, by Cindy Lou Johnson; Jan. 25-Feb. 17. A reclusive young Alaskan man receives an unusual visitor during a blizzard: A young woman from Arizona, in a wedding dress.
Pas d’Action, by Hal Corley; March 15-March 31. A world premiere about a retiring grand dame of ballet.
Love and Money, by A.R. Gurney, April 25-May 19. A wealthy widow and an ambitious young man make for lighthearted comic interplay.