Most people recognize Lou Cutell because of his many memorable cameos in television and movies: from “Mary Tyler Moore” and “The Golden Girls,” to “Seinfeld” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”
His just wrapped up filming the second season of “Betty White’s Off Their Rockers,” a prank show where mischievous seniors pull pranks on unsuspecting youngsters.
But what brought Cutell to Sarasota in late December was The Golden Apple Dinner Theatre’s re-opening for the production of the comedy, “Viagra Falls.” Cutell is the play’s co-writer and also plays the role of Charley. Cutell and longtime director of the Golden Apple, Robert Turoff, first met in the ’50s at Barn Theatre, in Augusta, Mich., where Turrell was directing and Cutell was one of his actors.
This is his first visit to Sarasota, but he is enjoying the white sands of Siesta Key Beach and calls Sarasota, “a great little arts colony.” He would love to come back in the future for a second round. He even has one of his other plays in mind.
Talk to me about writing “Viagra Falls,” and how you came to be the co-writer.
One guy, Joao Machado, and his friend saw me and said, “We have a play for you,” and I said, “Really?” The next day they brought it over… I thought, it wasn’t really a play, but I love the ending. I thought the ending was really special. So I gave it to my friend, Don Crichton (the future play’s original director). Don said, “Louie, there’s no play here!”
But there was something about it, so I put it aside for three weeks … all of a sudden it was like magic. The ideas kept flowing … I continued on and on and three years later we had a reading at my home and I invited all my friends. The applause kept going on and on, and they said “Louie, what a great play!” Well, I couldn’t believe it.
The character Charley, whom you play, decides to celebrate his birthday with his friend Moe by taking a Viagra and ordering a call girl. Did you create the character Charley based on personal experience?
Well, that’s an interesting question. Thank God, I don’t have any problems with my prostate.
The urologist who lives next door to me told me that he has analyzed people who have prostate cancer and has a (un-proven) theory that people that (have it) have given up sex or their libido is gone. So, there’s the idea (in the play) that if you don’t use that thing, everything in life stops up. Like the line when Charley says, “Come on, Moe, I know there’s still a wolf in you.”
That conversation inspired parts of the plot.
Well, if you haven’t had a similar birthday celebration to Charley’s, what was the most memorable birthday you ever celebrated?
(In 2007, my cousin Chris) threw me a surprise party and invited all my friends and relatives. That was the only time (someone has ever done that for me), and I thought it was amazing.
What do you hope people take from your play when they see it?
A joy of life. “Have fun,” as I say in the play. My theme is about doing something; be out there. Sometimes life will throw you a curve ball, but you just gotta have fun and live one day at a time. Enjoy life as long as you have your health. You just gotta keep thinking positively about life …
I think a lot of people give up really early in life and miss the boat. I’m having as much fun now as ever, and I think the play has a couple of tears, but it’s mostly laughter — that’s life.
Speaking of laughter, tell me about your work on “Betty White’s Off Their Rockers.”
I basically play a little older man with little frameless glasses, a kindly man counterpart of Betty White …
What I’ve learned from that show is that people are wonderful. People are willing to help out old people; they are supportive. Humanity is great!
What’s it like working with Betty White?
The best. She’s an amazing lady, she really and truly is. What you see on screen is so wonderful, but there’s even more to her in person. I’ve known her since the “Mary Tyler Moore Show”… and then “Golden Girls.” She even comes to my house during dinner. People just love her!
IF YOU GO
When: Runs through Feb. 24
Where: Golden Apple Dinner Theatre, 25 N. Pineapple Ave.
Info: Call 366-5604
Currently 1 Response
- I am very interested in directing the play, "Viagra Falls," for little theater here in Yachats, Oregon. I attended the play in Palm Springs several years ago and have not been able to get it off my mind. I have tried writing to Lou Cutell but letter was returned. Please advise. Carl Miller, P.O. Box 18, Yachats, Oregon 97498. firstname.lastname@example.org
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