Comedy Room Service launches 30th anniversary season

Comedy Room Service launches 30th anniversary season


The play that launched New American Theater’s very first season on Oct. 20, 1972 is back on stage to kick off NAT’s 30th anniversary season. Room Service, a comedy by John Murray and Allen Boretz, opens Oct. 2 and revolves around the lengths to which one man goes to see a play produced against all odds. NAT theater-goers may remember the hilarious farce from its run during the theater’s 10th season as well, opening in January of 1982.

Directed by NAT Artistic Director Richard Raether, the laughter-filled show features both actors familiar to NAT audiences and some new faces. NAT veterans Lance Retallick, Josh Burton and Dan Rodden head up the cast. Retallick was last seen as Brick in Cat On a Hot Tin Roof, but prior to that, his comic turns in All in the Timing, Sylvia, Tuna Christmas and Greater Tuna gave NAT audiences many a laugh. Burton, a local favorite, has been seen at NAT in A Christmas Carol, Corpse, The Sunshine Boys and many others. Dan Rodden was last seen in Blithe Spirit at NAT and played Bob Cratchit to Josh Burton’s Scrooge. Other local performers include Scott Chachula, B. J. Jackson, Edward Light, Steve McCarry and Larry Rucker.

Several new faces will be seen a great deal this season. In addition to his first NAT appearance—in Room Service, Kevin McKillip will be seen in Wizard of Oz; NAT’s educational tour show, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe; Romeo and Juliet; and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. Newcomer Keith Conway will also become a familiar face—performing in Room Service, the Wizard of Oz, Romeo and Juliet and A Connecticut Yankee. Rob Howard, Toni Grates and Charla Mason will all appear in both Room Service and Wizard of Oz.

A critical role is also filled by another well-known local—the moosehead which features prominently in the play is on loan from the Northwoods Beef-A-Roo restaurant on North Alpine Road. “Our talent scouts determined that it would be perfect for the part,” jokes Raether. “We appreciate Beef-A-Roo’s willingness to partner with us.”

He adds, “Room Service is a timeless comedy and so appropriate to kick off our 30th season. This season includes something for everyone, be it comedies like Room Service and Art, musicals like Wizard of Oz and Ain’t Misbehavin’, a Shakespeare classic in Romeo and Juliet, or a suspense shocker like Wait Until Dark. We’d like to see all of Rockford come to see what intimate, professional live theater is all about!” Tickets, both season series and individual plays, are available through the NAT box office at (815) 964-6282.

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