Joe’s Opus- by Peter Huston
“Finding Felix” is brand new original play written by one of South Bass Islands own, Joe Foutts. If you have ever been in the Beer Barrel over the last 12 years here in Put-in-Bay, chances are you have heard and seen Joe’s work. Joe is the stage manager at the Beer Barrel, and oversees the light and sound for the live bands all summer long. Joe’s journey to Put-in-Bay started in East Liverpool, Ohio where he was born in the local hospital. After graduating from high school in 1973, Joe set course for the Navy. He spent three years as an Electrician’s Mate, stationed in exotic places like Orlando, FL and Pearl Harbor, HA.
Turns out Joe’s Navy training would help shape his life’s work. After being honorably discharged in 1976, Joe started working in, or with, several rock bands, got married, had a daughter, and worked day-jobs while performing at night. He was living the “rock and roll” dream. The long hours finally took their toll and in 1989 Joe decided to go back to school. He entered the Art Institute of Pittsburgh’s Music and Video Production and Business School and two years later had his degree in Applied Sciences. Then he went back to school again at ITT Technical Institute. Getting an Electronic Engineering degree while graduating with highest honors (3.994 GPA). After graduation he helped form Stage Left Productions, Inc. and worked as a performer, technician, and sound engineer. In 1999 Joe came to Put-in-Bay to perform his one-man “Joe Show”. He caught island fever and by summer’s end he had decided to move here permanently.
Today Joe is not only a skilled musician, he’s a lighting director, sound engineer, actor and director and now a theatrical writer. Joe will tell you that winter on South Bass can be very quiet. So in the spring of 2002 he acted in his first stage play since high school called “An Evening of Culture”. Smitten by the acting bug, Joe has acted, done lighting and music design for our Dramatic Society every year since. In 2007 he started directing, with the full-length play – “The Face on the Barroom Floor”. His new play was borne out of frustration in trying to find great Community Theater level productions that are fun to act in.
His inspiration for “Finding Felix” is Neil Simon’s classic – “The Odd Couple”. Like many of us, he was a big fan of Felix and Oscar, characters in the play and later in the popular TV sitcom. The setting for “Finding Felix” is a small mid-western town. The story involves a community theatre troupe that enlists the aid of a visiting Broadway director. When the “Broadway legend” takes over he brings on his “favorite Broadway actress”, and the troupe is subjected to a series of insensitive illogical cast changes, tantrums, additional auditions, and on and on…As Joe notes in his press release about the play, “Throw in a mob boss and his henchman, a gold-digger, the town drunk; mix thoroughly, and hilarity ensues.”
As you can imagine Joe is very excited about his new comedy. The Put-in-Bay Arts Council hopes you will join Joe and the our talented Put-in-Bay Dramatic Society for “Finding Felix” at the Put-in-Bay Opera House. The curtain goes up Thursday April 12th at 7:30 and run for three nights, April 12,13,and 14th. Break a leg!