Orville And Wilbur Did It

By David Zellnikthe new colony

Directed by Andrew Hobgood

Produced by The New Colony

At Signal Ensemble Theatre, Chicago

Irreverent comedy is a fun summer treat

The creatives at The New Colony, under the leadership of Andrew Hobgood, use a blend of writing by a playwright with the hands-on from the cast to create heartfelt theatre. Their latest is a light weight comedy about a group of misfit actors on a 58 city non-Equity tour of the USA performing a children’s show about Orville and Wilbur Wright.

the new colony

Orville And Wilbur Did It! tells the story of five actors and a stage manager as they tour. We learn to care about each player; their sadnesses, ecstasies, hopes, fears and egos as they travel and live together on the road. There are inappropriate hook-ups, funny conversations, bitter critiques and gratuitous flirting.

the new colony

What makes this comedy work is the honest depiction from each character that renders laughs. From the butch stage manager, Jen (Jessica London-Shields) who supports an otter to Pandro (Joey Romaine), the red-bearded actor who plays the bird and wants to play Wilbur to Melitta (Morgan McNaught) who has plans to play Mama Rose in ten years. Scraggs (Josh Odor) is the veteran, ex-con bent on making it as an actor while he cons everyone. Zack (Evan Linder) is the wound-too tight actor with a loving boyfriend he is loyal to yet he is being seduced by Jasper (Kevin Stangler) who had a crush on Zack from high school. Lastly, when X (Alex Grelle) replaces Scraggs, the humor turns raunchy and hilarious.

the new colony

Fueled with some original songs  (music by Eric Svejcar and lyrics by David Zellnik), Orville And Wilbur Did It! shows how lame their children’s show actually is and how each actor reacts to negative talk backs from the children. But what makes this play so funny is the deep development of each character that produces a rich dynamic that creates funny, heartfelt situations that are funny because they are plausible. That is the source of most humor. This is a fine ensemble piece that gives each character their special moments. It is refreshing to see a show with everyone so committed to the work that the sheer energy produced  laughs. This is a fun, silly yet truthful comedy that is a terrific night at the theatre. The New Colony folks continually produce stage worthy shows. This one will make you laugh.

Highly Recommended

Tom Williams

Talk Theatre in Chicago podcast

Date Reviewed: June 17, 2014

For more info checkout the Orville And Wilbur Did It! page at

At Signal Ensemble Theatre, 1802 W. Berenice, Chicago, IL,, tickets $20, students $10, Thursdays thru Saturdays at 7:30 pm, Sundays at 6 pm, running time is 1 hour, 50 minutes with intermission, through July 20, 2014

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