Valley Comedian’s Theater Show to Premiere at Playhouse for Valentine’s Day

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — “Couples Therapy,” a stage show written by comedy veteran Jason Tarr of Poland, will premiere Saturday, Feb. 12, at The Youngstown Playhouse. 

The show, which blends theater and standup, is being presented as a one-night-only special for Valentine’s Day season. 

It stars Playhouse veterans Brandy Johanntges and John Cox as married relationship experts who are presenting a seminar for couples. The audience is taken on a funny – and scientifically accurate – ride that explores the differences between men and women.

The Playhouse performance will also mark the debut of Tarr as a director and playwright.

The Boardman native first appeared on stage at age 17 at the Funny Farm Comedy Club, which at the time was in its original location inside the Holiday Inn in Liberty Township. He quickly became a crowd favorite and show host. 

At age 21, he moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career, and also went on tour. He opened for Jeff Dunham and Carrot Top and headlined comedy clubs across the country.

While in LA, he performed regularly at the Laugh Factory and Hollywood Improv comedy clubs and also gained experience in film, theater and television.

After living in several states, he moved back to the Mahoning Valley with his wife a decade ago and works as an investment specialist for a Spanish bank.

He started writing “Couples Therapy” 15 years ago and has refined it over the years. The show almost hit the stage twice before, at theaters in Cleveland and Canton, but fell through.

Finally getting the show on stage “is a dream come true,” Tarr said.

Johanntges and Cox, who both have a lot of experience in comedy roles, are perfect for the cast, according to Tarr.

“They have such a chemistry that you would think they are a married couple in real life,” Tarr said. 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.”

Before the show, audience members will be asked to submit some questionnaire cards that will be leveraged into the show.

“The characters break the fourth wall during the show and talk to the audience during their seminar,” Tarr said.

The playwright has long specialized in relationship humor and did a lot of research on the subject – which makes its way into the script. The information that the two relationship therapists deliver in his show is all true. “Audiences will not only be entertained but will learn something about how men and women are different,” Tarr said. “For example, the part of the brain that deals with the pursuit of sex is two and a half times larger in the male brain than in the female. That explains why men spend more time thinking about it.”

The themes of love and relationships come to the forefront every year as Valentine’s Day nears, making “Couples Therapy” a show that could be in-demand every February.

Tarr is already thinking about ways to “box up the show and present it at other theaters.” He will film the Playhouse performance and use segments of it in promotional videos to garner interest.

Cox, who is also the president of the Playhouse board of directors, said ‘Couples Therapy” will give couples a chance to laugh with each other – and at each other.

“The only thing crazier than relationships are relationship seminars,” he said.

Tickets are $30 and can be purchased online at Youngstownplayhouse.org or by calling the box office at 330 788 8739. Flex passes cannot be used for this show. A cocktail hour will precede the 7:30 p.m. performance.

The Youngstown Playhouse requires audience members to be masked and performers to be vaccinated. 

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.