WOODLAND — It’s the beginning of a season of love and new beginnings at Woodland’s Love Street Playhouse and that 2017 season will begin with a Valentine celebration.
In July of 2016, Love Street Playhouse Owner and Artistic Director Melinda Pallotta (formerly Melinda Leuthold), of Woodland, married Lou Pallotta, of Ridgefield. And now the creative duo will perform in the season opener, Southern Comforts, Feb. 17-March 5. Coming together brings to the Clark/Cowlitz environment two dynamic theatrical forces whose talents blend perfectly.
Both Melinda and Lou have worked on the Love Street stage as well as behind the scenes. But this is the first time the couple will perform together.
“We are thrilled to kick off the new season in this two person comedy,’’ Melinda said. “We looked at several scripts before choosing this one. It speaks to our hearts about being in a loving relationship, but finding that special love at our age comes with its own challenges. Lou’s New Jersey character is pretty set in his ways. My southern character is full of life and always sees things in a positive light. The script takes us through their meeting and falling in love, but also shows some of the challenges that we face, no matter how old we are.”
Love Street Playhouse now enters its 10th year as a producer of high quality theater as well as a summer Youth Theatre Program for aspiring young actors.
“The production values in this warm and inviting community theatre are amazing,” says Lou. “I fell in love the moment I entered the theatre. Melinda is the hardest working and most organized artistic director that I have ever met and it shows in the quality of each performance.”
Lou is well known in the Vancouver and Portland theater world as an award winning actor, producer and playwright. His Dead Husband productions, “Who Stole My Dead Husband?” and “Why Can’t You Stay Dead?” are Portland’s longest running, interactive, musical comedy theater shows, playing for more than seven years. Lou has graced many stages in his career including four shows with the Oregon Symphony and working with Broadway director Patti D’Beck. He won a Bay Area award for his portrayal of Harry the Horse in “Guys & Dolls” at the San Jose Civic Light Opera.
Melinda holds a Bachelor of Arts in theatre from Seattle Pacific University with fine arts training from Illinois State University where she had the opportunity to work with visiting artist, Uta Hagen back in the 1980s. One of Melinda’s favorite experiences was starring as Annie Sullivan in “The Miracle Worker” in Portland, Ore..
“Owning a theatre was always a dream of mine,’’ Melinda said. “Even as far back as my teen years. And now, entering our 10th year at Love Street Playhouse, I realize how fortunate I am to not only be living my dream but also getting to share that experience with my husband, Lou.”
As art imitates life, the couple hopes that by sharing their life experience through the words of playwright Kathleen Clark’s script, Southern Comforts, they can share a small portion of their very own love story with their community, family and friends.
“Although the story doesn’t follow who we are and the circumstances that brought us together, it will give the audience a peek into our special world through performance,” says Lou.
Love Street opens its 2017 Season with the two-person comedy about finding love later in life. Southern Comforts is written by Kathleen Clark and directed by Sharon Mann of Vancouver. The show opens Feb. 17 with a post-show champagne and chocolate celebration of love with Melinda and Lou.
A peak behind the curtain
Southern Comforts is a beautiful exploration of the intimate workings of all relationships. In a sprawling New Jersey Victorian home, a surly Yankee widower (played by Lou) and vivacious widow from Tennessee (played by Melinda) find what they least expected – a second chance at love. Their funny, awkward, and enchanting romance is filled with sweet surprise and unpredictable tribulation. Told with warmth and perceptive humor, this off-Broadway success is a touching, late-in-life journey of compromise and rejuvenation, of personal risk and the rewards of change.
Southern Comforts will run Feb. 17 through March 5, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Tickets are $17-$20 in advance when you choose your seats online by visiting the theatre’s website at www.lovestreetplayhouse.com or by calling (360) 907-9996.
To purchase season tickets and gift certificates see the website. For information on advertising in their programs or to become a business sponsor contact Melinda Pallotta at (360) 907-9996.
In addition to Southern Comforts, the Love Street Playhouse 2017 Season includes Leaving Iowa, directed by Melinda Pallotta, Always…Patsy Cline, directed by Tony Bump and The Game’s Afoot directed by Melinda Pallotta. Season Ticket Holders and Business Sponsors at Love Street receive discounted tickets and the opportunity to choose their seats before tickets go on sale to the general public.
Love Street Playhouse is located at 126 Loves Avenue in Woodland. Local business sponsors and advertisers contributing to the Love Street Playhouse include the America’s Family Diner, Port of Woodland, Columbia Bank, Woodland Truck Line, Lou Pallotta of Chianti Club Productions, S & V Tax Service in Longview, and Business Cents NW, Inc. in Vancouver.