The community theater troupe known simply as now is having somewhat of a mid-life crisis. The artists formerly known as Novato Theater Company since a lease expired at the Pacheco Playhouse in Ignacio, so the first show of the new season — The Last of the Red Hot Lovers — is being staged at a theater in San Rafael.
Coincidentally, a mid-life crisis is exactly what's happening to the main character in the Neil Simon play, which opens Friday at 32Ten Studios.
The story revolves around Barney Cashman and whether a man in such a predicament can find happiness. The role is played by Ron Dailey of Novato, who became NTC's hero even before opening night; he replaced Dale Camden, who broke three ribs in a motorcycle accident and had to bow out.
NTC's Sandi Rubay said Dailey was committed to another show, a dinner theater production. When Camden was injured, Dailey said he would be NTC's substitute partly because he had an understudy in the other show.
"That night, he went to our rehearsal, which was great for us and I think good for the understudy, too," Rubay said. "We are so honored that he was willing to step in."
Dailey appears in three separate acts with three women: Susan Gundunas of San Francisco as Elaine Navazio; Molly McCarthy of Petaluma as Bobbi Michele; and Susan Stein of Novato as Jeanette Fisher. The play got its start on Broadway in the late ‘60s before it was released as a film in 1972 starring Alan Arkin, Paula Prentiss and Sally Kellerman.
Simon's writing is top notch as Barney is itching to join the free-form sexual revolution before it passes him by. Barney tries his best to seduce the three women, but finds that his inexperience in adultery is showing.
Novato's Jamey Hurwitz is directing The Last of the Red Hot Lovers and her partner Robin Hurwitz is the producer.
The play runs Aug. 31 to Sept. 23 at 32TEN Studios (formerly part of Lucas studio complex) at 3210 Kerner Blvd. in San Rafael. Shows are at 8 p.m., Thursdays through Saturdays, with Sunday matinees at 3 p.m. Tickets are $22 for general admission and $20 for seniors and students. Cost for children’s tickets is $12. Tickets are available at www.novatotheatercompany.org or by calling 415-883-4498.