St. Vincent Summer Theatre wrapping up season with 'Odd Couple'
St. Vincent Summer Theatre wraps up its 48th season with Neil Simon's classic comedy of mismatched roommates, “The Odd Couple.”
The play begins with a poker game hosted by Oscar Madison, a divorced sportswriter who lives alone in his messy apartment. His friend, Felix Ungar, arrives late, wallowing in self-pity after learning that his wife wants a divorce. Oscar allows Felix to move in with him and soon regrets the offer. Felix is uptight and fastidious and feels compelled to point out Oscar's faults. The conflict between the nagging Felix and the resistant Oscar forms the crux of the show's humor.
“We're going to round out the season with a great comedy,” director Greggory Brandt says. “People will know they can come to this show and laugh.”
The show's popularity both on stage and on screen means that Brandt and his cast must be on their toes to present a top-notch performance. “Expectations are high when it's a story everyone knows,” Brandt says.
Actor David Cabot, who plays Oscar, aims to live up to the legacy of his predecessors without trying to imitate them. “This is a bit of a challenge to me,” Cabot says. “To be playing this role after Walter Matthau and Jack Klugman — these are big shoes to fill.”
Cabot is particularly glad to be cast opposite Kevin Daniel O'Leary, who plays Felix. The actors have a real-life friendship that will add a layer of authenticity to their onstage roles. This production is their 11th show together in nine years.
“We are quite comfortable together,” Cabot says.
The role of Felix is not a stretch for O'Leary. “I very often get to play these panicky, introverted roles,” he says. “That's who I feel I am as a person.
“In the beginning, Felix is hopeless and miserable, wallowing in self-pity,” he says. “But then he decides to clean up the apartment and cook for everyone. The middle of the play takes off when his anal-retentive qualities come out.”
The cast is completed by Daina Michelle Griffith and Erin Lindsay Krom as the Pigeon sisters, two British divorcees who live upstairs from Oscar and Felix, Tim Hartman as Murray the policeman, Christopher Swan as Speed, Harley Allen as Vinnie and John Michnya as Roy.
Cynthia Helzel is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.