Reitz Continues Silver Anniversary with Simon Classic, The Odd Couple

(Provided photo)

DUBOIS – The Paul G. Reitz Theater of Cultural Resources Incorporated continues to celebrate its 25th anniversary with the Neil Simon classic, The Odd Couple, April 28-29 at 7:30 p.m., April 30 at 2 p.m., and again May 4-6 at 7:30 p.m. The production is presented by special arrangements with Samuel French Inc.

Can two divorced men share an apartment without driving each other crazy? This production finds out, as fastidious neat freak Felix Ungar (Josh Alderton) is invited to share the apartment of his slovenly best friend Oscar Madison (Brian Folmar).

Most of the comedy happens around a weekly poker game with their friends, Murray (Todd Shindledecker), Vinnie (Darius Clement), Speed (Dave Clark) and Roy (Dave Glass), while we catch a glimpse of a possible romantic dinner with Pigeon Sisters, Gwendolyn (Valerie Kucenski) and Cecily (Alyssa Wood).

Director Drew Gordon is a big fan of Simon’s work. He also has a soft spot for this classic. “I loved watching every aspect of this show,” Gordon says.

“I grew up watching the original television series with Tony Randall and Jack Klugman, and saw the movie with Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau after. Simon’s style of writing strikes a chord with the viewer, with a naturally funny glimpse into real life.”

Gordon also played Murray in a 1990 production for the Greene Theater Company in Waynesburg.

The original 1965 Broadway production starred Art Carney as Felix, and Walter Matthau as Oscar, and was directed by Mike Nichols. The production gained Tony Awards for Matthau for Best Actor, Nichols for Best Director and Simon for Best Author. It was nominated for Best Play.

It’s rumored that the piece was based on the real-life experience of Neil Simon’s writer-brother Danny (Your Show of Shows, Carol Burnett), and his divorce experiences when he lived with a Hollywood agent.

The play has since been performed by a Who’s Who of talented actors, in all corners of the globe. The Odd Couple has seen success in Canada, England, Scotland, Japan, Australia and Poland.

Simon also wrote a female version in 1985, that featured Rita Moreno as Olive Madison, and Sally Struthers as Florence Ungar, and a cartoon program, The Oddball Couple aired on ABC in 1975, with two characters, Spiffy and Fleabag, who resemble Felix and Oscar.

Sponsored by Johnson Motors and Johnson Subaru, tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for students and seniors and $5 for children. You can purchase tickets at Kohlhepp’s True Value Hardware in DuBois, or go online at thereitztheater@gmail.com.

To find out more, contact the Reitz Theater Box Office at 814-375-4CRI. Visit www.reitztheater.com to find out more about upcoming events.

“We have a great cast and crew,” Gordon adds, “and we’re looking forward to entertaining our audiences! You can’t find a better show to just forget your troubles and laugh!”

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