2010-04-29 / News

Trinity offers fun evening with ‘The Odd Couple’

Resident acting company members Fred Sullivan Jr. as Oscar Madison and Brian McEleney as Felix Ungar in Neil Simon’s “The Odd Couple,” directed by Curt Columbus. The production will play through May 9 in Trinity Rep’s Chace Theater. Photo by Mark Turek Resident acting company members Fred Sullivan Jr. as Oscar Madison and Brian McEleney as Felix Ungar in Neil Simon’s “The Odd Couple,” directed by Curt Columbus. The production will play through May 9 in Trinity Rep’s Chace Theater. Photo by Mark Turek It’s a comedy that many of us will remember from watching television in our younger days. On-stage currently at Trinity Rep is Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple, dubbed “the most famous American comedy of the last 50 years” by the New York Times.

Newly divorced Oscar Madison has been left alone in his big apartment on Riverside Drive and his slovenly bachelor ways have run amok. When neat-freak Felix Ungar’s wife kicks him out, Oscar takes him in and the two become unlikely roommates.

Under the direction of Trinity Artistic Director Curt Columbus, hilarity ensues in the godfather of all “buddy” comedies.

Longtime resident acting company members and friends Brian McEleney (Felix) and Fred Sullivan, Jr. (Oscar) are delighted to be working together as the mismatched pair.

“I was in his dressing room the other night, and I actually started to clean up,” McEleney said.

“He wasn’t even thinking,” Sullivan added. “It just came naturally.”

When asked about the pair’s undeniable chemistry, Sullivan explained, “The Odd Couple is the fiftieth show we’ve done together. We practically finish each other’s sentences at this point.”

Joining McEleney and Sullivan in the cast are resident company members Stephen Berenson, Mauro Hantman, Stephen Thorne and Joe Wilson, Jr. playing their weekly poker buddies.

Phyllis Kay and Nance Williamson are a real hoot as the Pigeon sisters, Oscar and Felix’s upstairs neighbors.

Neil Simon’s “The Odd Couple” premiered on Broadway in 1965, under the direction of Mike Nichols, and became an instant classic, winning five Tony awards. The story was adapted for film in 1968 and became a long-running television series in 1970.

“The Odd Couple clearly sparked something in America’s popular imagination,” said Columbus. “He has an unparalleled comic voice, on par with Molière and Chekhov, but inflected with a unique American twang.”

Resident designer and Tony Award-winner Eugene Lee and Columbus have set “The Odd Couple” in a 1960s television studio. Columbus said that the idea came to him when thinking about how TV played an important part in Neil Simon’s life.

“We’re reaching back to Playhouse 90, and the smoky, male dominated clubhouse that was the writers’ room,” he said.

This season, Trinity Rep has responded to these tough economic times by continuing to offer $20 discounted seating, and $10 seats are also available on the Chace Theater’s 12th row bench. Group rates and other discounted ticket options are also available.

Regular performances start at 7:30 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday, with selected Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m.

Talkbacks will be held after every performance of “The Odd Couple.” Audiences are invited to share their response to the play’s production and themes.

Call the box office at 351-4242 or visit www.trinityrep.com for more information.

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