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Portland actor joins friends in Lakewood Theatre Company's 'The Odd Couple'

From left are March Schwahn (Vinnie), Todd Hermanson (Murray), Danny Bruno (Speed), Gary Powell (Roy), Don Alder (Oscar) and Grant Byington (Felix) in Lakewood Theatre Companys The Odd Couple.

Danny Bruno is a busy beaver, and has played one on TV.

You might recognize him from his role in NBC's hit show "Grimm." He played Bud Wurstner, a character who turned into a beaver wesen on the show. The popular Portland actor played that role for five and a half seasons.

"It was great role," he said. "I originally auditioned for a rat father, but when they saw me they thought I would be better as Bud the Beaver — he is a busy beaver. Viewers liked Bud and I got a lot of play on social media so they kept writing Bud into the scripts."

Bruno has been acting on Portland stages for 30 years and is appearing in Lakewood Theatre Company's production of "The Odd Couple." He last appeared with LTC as Bottom in "A Midsummer Night's Dream," which he says is one of his favorite roles.

After "Grimm" Bruno spent a couple years in Los Angeles, but returned to Portland where he said the opportunities were just as great and the driving much easier.

"I had to go and see if I liked it down there, but I really like living in Portland better," he said.

Bruno has had major roles in hundreds of plays throughout the Northwest including at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Portland Center Stage, New Rose Theater, Artists Repertory Theatre, Oregon Repertory Theatre, Lakewood Theatre Company, Hult Center for the Performing Arts, Actor's Cabaret in Eugene, Northwest Classical Theatre, Profile Theatre, Stark Raving Theatre and others.

From left are Gary Powell (Roy), Grant Byington (Felix) and Danny Bruno (Speed) in Lakewood Theatre Companys production of The Odd Couple.

He was awarded a Drammy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in 2005 for his portrayal of Dave Moss in David Mamet's "Glengarry Glen Ross."

In addition to his appearances in Grimm, he has appeared on "Portlandia," "Nowhere Man," "Without a Warning: Terror in the Towers"; as Agent Bob in "Leverage," and Officer Dixon in "In the Line of Duty: Blaze of Glory."

In 2014, Oregon Media Production Association presented him with the Best Male Actor Award for his work in "Grimm" and "Portlandia."

His long career in Portland theater has led to friendships within the industry, including director Pat Patton and actor Don Alder. Patton is directing "The Odd Couple," and Adler plays Oscar in the production.

In fact, Bruno has worked previously with all the cast members of "The Odd Couple."

"Having the right people translates into great communication," he said. "We get more laughs offstage (from the cast) than onstage."

In "The Odd Couple" Bruno plays Speed, a frustrated cabby who has wanted to retire for years, but can't make it happen.

"Playing poker is more important to him than to the other guys," Bruno said. "You can tell from his lines that there is aggravation at home. He is a sarcastic complainer but I like his character. 'Why do you have to go home early?' he asks. You have to find a way to like him. He really loves these guys and is the first to jump in when Felix is down and out about losing his family.

"What I like about the play is that is shows men's relationships as friends and how they do love each other. There is a closeness that needs to be out there more."

Bruno says playwright Neil Simon's genius shows through in the play.

"You can't miss with Neil Simon's words," he said. "This role gives me a chance to use my New York accent. I drop the Rs and it forces me to go back to my New York clip — you cut off words as New Yorkers don't have time to say the whole word."

Simon also knew how to set up a joke, Bruno says.

"You really have to listen to the audience and the other actors," he said. "You have to be on your toes and listen to the audience's reaction. You have to be in the moment because there are five different levels in operation at the same time. It is terrifying and joyful at the same time!"

"There is nothing like getting laughs," he added. "Sometimes you can control them and (sometimes you) can't but it is always fun."

As of press time, Lakewood Theatre Company's Executive Director Andrew Edwards said the show is currently postponed, but that he is working on extending the run beyond the original closing date of April 13.

For up to date information, call the box office at 503-635-3901 or visit lakewood-center.org.

Lakewood Theatre Company performances take place at Lakewood Center for the Arts, 368 S. State St. in Lake Oswego.

From left as Mark Schwahn (Vinnie), Todd Hermanson (Murraya), Danny Bruno (Speed) and Don Adler (Oscar) in Lakewood Theatre Companys production of The Odd Couple.

From left are Don Adler (Oscar), Danny Bruno (Speed) and Mark Schwahn (Vinnie) in Lakewood Theatre Companys production of The Odd Couple.


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