With just days left before they bare their lives on stage in front of hundreds of friends, family, colleagues and strangers, cast members for the 2018 “Newly”wed Game to benefit local food shelves are starting to get some serious cases of the nerves. With orchestra-level seats virtually gone and loge tickets selling fast, organizers of the second-year event have opened The Paramount balcony for sales.
“It’s for a good cause, so I hope people turn out and support it, but I’m not going to lie, I am terrified,” said Renee Marsan of Carpenter and Costin, who will compete with her husband, Russ.
“You think she’s scared?” replied Russ Marsan. “I’ve been chewing my fingers to the bone. We both tend to speak our minds, and I’m frightened to think what we might say in the spur of the moment on stage.”
Trish Bartenstein, who will compete with her husband Claus, said they have talked about the show, and she’s offered him some advice.
“I told him, ‘I think it will be great, and you can be funny, but let’s not be too embarrassing,’” she told him. “Think before you open your mouth.”
Show host Ed Kelly says that’s good advice. “I’ve been going through the prepared questions, and there are some doozies,” Kelly said. “The participants, and the audience, should be ready for anything!”
Karri and Ann Tomasi, who have been married just seven months, said despite some trepidation, they are looking forward to Saturday night.
“We’re super excited, for sure,” Karri said. “We keep trying to practice, asking each other all kinds of questions to try to prepare. I think we’ve learned a lot about each other, which has been really fun, but we’ll see on Saturday night!”
The live version of the classic TV show, presented by WJJR, Green Mountain Power and The Vermont Country Store, will also feature couples Dan and Leslie Doenges, “Uncle” Dave and Kate Tibbs, Mike and Missi Delehanty, Gene Jennings and Fred Garrow, and Kim and Henry Heck. All eight couples recently met together for the first time to go over the show format, meet each other, and commiserate.
“We knew we had a great cast, and that meeting confirmed it,” said GMP Vice President Steve Costello, one of the organizers. “The jokes and the laughs were flying from end to end, and if we could have sold tickets, the patrons would have gotten their money’s worth just to see that meeting. Saturday night promises to be hilarious.”
The Pack The Paramount “Newly”wed Game is a rebranding of the long-running Pack The Paramount Food Drive. Instead of collecting food items, the goal is to pack The Paramount’s seats with patrons, with sponsorship and ticket sales benefiting the Rutland Community Cupboard, BROC Community Food Shelf, and the Salvation Army. Last year’s event raised more than $24,000.
Paramount Programming Director Eric Mallette said the event has quickly become one of his favorites. “To combine a night of laughter with raising money to help fill local food shelves makes it really special,” Mallette said. “This promises to be one of the funniest and most meaningful events of the year.”