A Fine and Pleasant evening of laughter

Tim Behrens plays humor to the hilt in the McManus Comedies

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Tim Behrens plays several characters in the McManus Comedies, including the daft but well-meaning Mrs. Swisher; Young Pat getting taken for a ride by one of Mr. Muldoon's pigs and Pat showing off his roadkill collection.

COEUR d'ALENE - You will laugh.

You will laugh long and deep and loud.

You will laugh harder than ever before.

Guaranteed.

"If they don't, I refund their money," said Tim Behrens. "Come up to the stage afterward and I'll refund their money."

The Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center presents the first of all the McManus Comedies, "A Fine and Pleasant Misery," by Patrick F. McManus, starring Pat's indentured actor, Tim Behrens.

The performance will take place May 3-4 at 7:30 p.m. in The Kroc Center Performing Arts Theater.

Sales benefit the Kroc Camp Scholarship Fund.

The one-man show introduces 12 zany McManus characters, from Rancid Crabtree to daft old Mrs. Swisher, from Strange the Dog, to a deer on a bicycle.

"The McManus Comedies are family friendly, hilarious stories about growing up in rural America when you're dirt poor (dirt being the only toy you can afford) and when the adults in your life get nervous every time they pass you on the street," according to a press release.

McManus is one of the most popular humor writers in the country. His 23 titles have sold more than six million copies, and five of his collections of short humor have made the top 10 of the NY Times Bestseller's list.

Behrens has been performing McManus characters on tour for 20 years, and estimates he has given about 1,500 shows to more than 400,000 people.

He said the writing of McManus and his acting complement each other. The stories have universal themes and characters in situations people will relate to.

"I just simply do a different voice and a change of posture for each character," Behrens said, "and the audience imagines the rest."

Behrens and McManus met in 1986 at Eastern Washington University, when McManus was an adviser. There was a connection in humor and spirit.

At the time, Behrens was a writer.

"Tim," McManus told him, "I've been reading your stuff for two years. I think you'd better stick to acting."

Behrens came from an acting background.

His mom, Amzie Strickland, was an actress who worked in TV and Hollywood, appearing on "I Love Lucy" and "Dragnet." She was last on TV in 2001 with a role in "ER."

His father, Frank Behrens, "was crazy, literally," Tim said. He was known as the man of a thousand voices and was on radio shows.

"He could go into any radio and do the voice that they wanted, cold," Tim said. "He just had a knack for these voices."

He also wrote material for Don Knotts, Tony Randall and Steve Allen.

The son avoided acting, he said, because he knew the ups and downs of the industry. His mom went for stretches without work, and the family struggled to pay bills.

He worked in newspapers for a time, but at 32, he turned to the stage.

He was the managing/artistic director of Centre Theatre Group for six years (1982-1988), and the founder (along with his jazz songstress wife, Leslie Ann Grove) and artistic director of CenterStage and Ella's Supper Club (2002-2008), all in Spokane.

The Spokane man was marketing director for the summer shows at Rockin' B Ranch from 2008-2011, and previously, for Books In Motion for two years. He won numerous awards for his audiobook readings, particularly Mark Twain.

These days, he's into playing the likes of Rancid Crabtree, Melba Peachbottom, Olga Bonemarrow and a space Alien named Zork, not to mention his personal favorite, Crazy Eddie Muldoon.

He does it, he says for the audiences and a whole lot of laughter.

"They laugh so loud it hurts my ears," he said.

Tickets are on sale now and are available at The Kroc Center front desk, or can be purchased over the phone with a credit card at 667-1865 and online at www.iTickets.com. Tickets are $23 for adults, $17 for children 17 and under.

Info: www.kroccda.org

Tim Behrens plays several characters in the McManus Comedies, including the daft but well-meaning Mrs. Swisher; Young Pat getting taken for a ride by one of Mr. Muldoon's pigs and Pat showing off his roadkill collection.

 

Tim Behrens plays several characters in the McManus Comedies, including the daft but well-meaning Mrs. Swisher; Young Pat getting taken for a ride by one of Mr. Muldoon's pigs and Pat showing off his roadkill collection.

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