N EPCC offers ‘God’s Favorite’ by Simon

EPCC offers ‘God’s
Favorite’ by Simon
eil Simon means comedy. As
one of the most prolific writers
of comedy for theater and movie
screen for over 50 years, he has garnered just about every prestigious award
offered, from Broadway’s Tony Award
to the Pulitzer Prize.
From “The Odd Couple” and
“Barefoot in the Park,” to “Lost in
Yonkers” and “The Goodbye Girl,” the
long list of his hits is astonishing.
But for El Paso Community College’s
newest theater professor, Matt Smith,
it’s one of Simon’s lesser-known works
that strikes a chord.
“God’s Favorite,” loosely based on the
Bible’s Book of Job, was produced 40
years ago on Broadway. It tells the story
of Joe Benjamin, a pious, God-fearing
tycoon, and his family, including his
long-suffering wife, Rose, his prodigal
son, David, and twins Ben and Sarah.
Throw in the typical maid and butler.
Add God’s messenger, Sidney Lipton,
who wears a big “G” on his sweatshirt
and who tries to tempt the good Joe,
and you have a Simon comedy.
“The story revolves around Joe, the
father, and his son, David. I lost my
father nine years ago this summer. I felt
connected to this play,” said Smith, the
new curriculum coordinator and districtwide coordinator for EPCC theater.
“The show is about having faith. No
matter what you do, you can’t survive
without it.”
Smith teaches the acting classes plus a
few intro to theater classes for the college. He has theater degrees from
Rhode Island College and Providence
College (M.A. in directing) in
Providence, R.I. He earned an MFA
from the University of Idaho, and as an
Actor’s Equity Guild member, has done
his fair share of performing. He came to
El Paso after a nationwide job search by
EPCC for the teaching position.
“El Paso rang. We (he and his wife)
came here and really liked it.”
On stage
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are 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m.
Sunday. Tickets: $10 ($7 military/students with
ID); $1 off ticket price for those who bring
baby and children’s clothes donations for the
Rainbow Room. Information: 532-1317, elpasoplayhouse.com.
The Hermans are a family of rotten children.
They lie, steal, swear, fight, light things on fire,
and are generally feared in the community.
When they get wind of the annual church
Christmas pageant, they bully their way into
the main roles and generally wreak havoc.
Play Reading Series — The Glasbox, 210
Poplar, hosts a weekly play reading series at 7
p.m. Wednesdays, to help writers develop new
plays in collaboration with actors and with the
directorial guidance of the Border Theatre.
Participants are welcome to bring an original
script, be one of the readers or observe and
provide feedback. Participation is free and open
to the public. Information: [email protected]
Page 44
El Paso Scene
He says his colleagues at the college
have made it an easy transition for him.
So has his cast of “God’s Favorite.”
“I lucked out,” Smith said of his auditions. “Every character matches up with
who’s playing the role. And we have all
genres, from the ditzy twins, to the sarcastic older son, to the mother who is a
witch with a capital ‘B.’ Then there’s
Joe, who is straight-laced.”
Not that there haven’t been challenges.
Many in the cast aren’t theater majors.
Some are acting for the first time.
“It’s been quite a journey for all of us.
It’s hard to do comedy. It’s not easy to
make someone laugh. It’s harder than
tragedy,” Smith said.
But seeing them all grow in their roles
has been thrilling for him, Smith said.
“I’m working with actors who don’t
want to do it for a living, but who want
to see what it’s all about. I’ve gotten so
much out of them. They’ve brought so
much to the show. I couldn’t be more
proud of them.”
Because of the cast and crew’s hard
work, Smith promises that the show will
be “hilariously funny. Come on down
and get ready to laugh.”
Carol Viescas is a veteran of
community theater and teaches
journalism at Bel Air High School.
El Paso Community College’s Theater
Ensemble presents Neil Simon’s “God’s
Favorite” Oct. 30-Nov. 9 at the EPCC
Transmountain Campus Forum.
Information: 831-5056, epcc.edu/theater.
Auditions & classes
El Paso Playhouse auditions - El Paso
Playhouse, 2501 Montana, hosts auditions for
the play “Five Women Wearing the Same
Dress” directed by Frieda Voeks at 7 p.m.
Sunday and Monday, Nov. 16-17. Directed by
Rachel Mullins. Auditions consist of cold readings from the script. Information: 532-1317,
Upcoming auditions are Dec. 14-15 for
“Almost, Maine,” directed by Corey Dlask.
‘Rent’ auditions — El Paso Community
College Theatre Ensemble hosts open auditions
for the hit musical 6 to 10 p.m. Wednesday,
Nov. 19, at EPCC’s Valle Verde Campus,
Building C, Room 401. Persons wishing to audition should come prepared with a short 1minute acting monologue and a 1-2 minute
song. Accompanist will be provided or person
may use recorded accompaniment. Also bring a
resume with 8” x 10” headshot. Information:
637-4029 or epcc.edu.
Rehearsals run December through February,
with performances Feb. 19-Mar 1.
November 2014