Another Round of ‘Couples Therapy’ as Playwright Takes Show on the Road
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – After the success of last year’s premiere, The Youngstown Playhouse is bringing back “Couples Therapy” for two shows, at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 10-11.
The comedy, written by veteran comedian and Boardman native Jason Tarr, was presented to a sold-out room last February, just before Valentine’s Day.
The two-person play blends theater and stand-up comedy and will again star John Cox and Brandy Johanntges.
The success of last year has also led to performances in other cities. “Couples Therapy” will be performed in the Columbus area the following weekend, at The Avalon Theater in Marysville. Performances in Philadelphia and Nashville, Tenn., are in the works for May. Cox and Johanntges will be in these shows.
Tarr has also made the script available to other theaters and has found takers.
“A large promotion company in Florida is going to test it this summer at the Delray Beach Playhouse and the Pompano Beach Arts and Cultural Center,” Tarr said.
The theaters who buy the performance rights will use their own actors and director.
In “Couples Therapy,” Cox and Johanntges play relationship experts who are married to each other. They present a seminar for couples, with the audience serving as the attendees.
The show uses humor to explore the differences between men and women, Tarr said.
Becoming a producer is something new to the veteran entertainer, but he’s learning as he goes.
“I did stand-up for 20-plus years, but producing a show is all new to me,” he said. “I went back to my old-school comedy roots and started calling up theaters and producers [to see if they were interested in the show]. I have no manager or agent or promoter.”
The theaters have been receptive to the show and like the concept.
“It’s easy to produce,” Tarr said. “It can be thrown up between larger productions [because of its minimal props and stage requirements].”
In the show, the actors emulate a marriage seminar at a hotel meeting room. On stage with them is a desk and a large screen that is used for their slide presentation.
“The show is very interactive,” Tarr said. “The audience is asked for questions about relationships before it starts, and then they are incorporated into the show.”
Tarr first appeared on stage at age 17 at the Funny Farm Comedy Club, which at the time was in its original location in Liberty Township.
At age 21, he moved to Los Angeles to pursue a comedy career. He opened for Jeff Dunham and Carrot Top and headlined comedy clubs across the country.
He moved back to the Mahoning Valley with his wife a decade ago and works as an investment specialist.
Tarr said Johanntges and Cox are perfect for the show.
“They have such a chemistry that you would think they are a married couple in real life,” Tarr said in an interview before the premiere. The two even get into little tiffs as they conduct their seminar. “It’s intentional,” Tarr said. “It shows that there is no perfect relationship.”
The characters break the fourth wall during the show, occasionally talking to the audience.
As a comedian, Tarr specialized in relationship humor. He has done a lot of research on the subject, and his findings make their way into the script.
Tickets for “Couples Therapy” are $22 and $32. For tickets, call the box office at 330 259 9651 or click HERE.
Pictured at top: John Cox and Brandy Johanntges in a scene from “Couples Therapy.”
Copyright 2023 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.