PPT to present ‘The Odd Couple’ with a twist
By Reid Leaonard, Piedmont Players Theater Director
Opens June 6 and plays June 6, 7, 8 and 12, 13, 14 and 15 at 7:30 p.m. with a matinee at 2:30 p.m. on June 9. For tickets visit Piedmontplayers.com or call 704-633-5471.
In the early 1980s, playwright Neil Simon received many requests to cast his hit show The Odd Couple with women. The play had been a hit on Broadway and had been turned into a movie and then a TV show. As he put it in his autobiography, when he sat down and reread the original script, he realized the casting would only be women playing men’s roles and male characters.
So he rewrote the entire script.
The Female Odd Couple opened on Broadway in 1985 starring Rita Moreno and Sally Struthers as Olive Madison and Florence Unger. The premise of the story remained the same (a neat freak moves in with a slob because both their marriages have crashed and burned) and the structure of the story remained, but the characters were approached from a female point of view. The group of friends who played poker in the original script now came over for a weekly game of Trivial Pursuit. Instead of going on dates with the British Pigeon sisters who lived upstairs, Olive and Florence now went on a date with the Spanish Costanzuela brothers.
According to Simon’s autobiography, there are now as many productions of the female version around he world as there are the male.
Fourteen years ago, Piedmont Players Theater did the male version of the Odd Couple with Bob Paolino as the slob Oscar and Gary Thornburg as the neat freak Felix.
In the current production, Andy Rassler (Andrea) is Olive Madison who invites her recently separated friend Florence Unger, played by Marnie Stoker.
In one very interesting change, Shawn Van Wallendael, who played one of the poker playing buddies in the earlier male version, is now Manolo Costanzuela who comes down from Apt 14F to go on a date with the girls. Shawn’s wife, Lori Van Wallendael, was one of the Pigeon sisters, who now plays the female version of the role Shawn played in the male version.
And the other Costanzuela brother? Gary Thornburg — who was Felix Madison in the earlier version.
Others in the cast are Tamara Sheffield as the policewoman, Mickey; Holly Grant as Vera; and Robin Rogers as Sylvie.
10 a.m.-3 p.m. June 1 The Waterworks Visual Arts Center Multicultural Family Fun Day is a free event on Saturday... read more