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Theater

'The Odd Couple' Female Version is a familiar couple that's sure to please

| Wednesday, April 19, 2017, 9:00 p.m.
Enjoying an evening of Trivial Pursuit in a scene from “The Odd Couple” Female Version are cast members (from left0 Diana Lucia, Dani White, Lisa Earnesty as Olive Madison, Marilyn Forbes as Florence Unger, Joan McCann and Dolores Love. Also in the show are John Wisilosky and Jack Forbes.
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Enjoying an evening of Trivial Pursuit in a scene from “The Odd Couple” Female Version are cast members (from left0 Diana Lucia, Dani White, Lisa Earnesty as Olive Madison, Marilyn Forbes as Florence Unger, Joan McCann and Dolores Love. Also in the show are John Wisilosky and Jack Forbes.

Actors and Artists of Fayette County (AAFC) opens its new season with a comedy that proves opposites attract – or at least tolerate each other.

Ron Bronson is directing playwright Neil Simon's sequel to his classic comedy about mismatched roommates, “The Odd Couple” Female Version. Simon's original “The Odd Couple” (1965) was a hit on Broadway and led to a successful 1968 film and 1970s television series, in addition to the female adaptation in 1985.

Instead of neat freak Felix Unger and messy slob Oscar Madison, audiences at Geyer Performing Arts Center will meet Florence Unger and Olive Madison in “The Odd Couple” Female Version.

Marilyn Forbes of Mt. Pleasant portrays Unger, a character she describes as “nice but annoying.”

The female version of the comedy is similar to the male version, she says, “but the one difference is that Olive is actually nicer than Oscar and still has feelings for her husband – and without revealing the end, Florence has an interesting ending as well.”

Forbes' biggest challenge with her portrayal is keeping her character “soft.”

“Florence is supposed to be a little soft and sweet and the last few characters I have played are all over-the-top-type roles. Bringing it down is a change,” she says.

She says “The Odd Couple” is not for young children due to its sexual references, but it's a show that she feels people will enjoy and remember.

Lisa Earnesty of Connellsville plays Olive Madison.

“She is the exact opposite of Florence in that I am sloppy with everything and I don't have a care in the world, but I love my friends and would do anything for them,” Earnesty says. Her kindness includes taking Florence in as a roommate when she and her husband decide to go their separate ways.

“I help Florence kind of break out of her shell and Florence helps me become a little bit more organized,” she says. “The audience will take away from the show that despite your differences, you can overcome anything.”

Forbes' recent roles include Violet in the musical “9 to 5,” Monique in “Always a Bridesmaid,” Lexi in “Dixie Swim Club,” Truvy in “Steel Magnolias” and Penny in “You Can't Take it With You.” She also directed the Neil Simon comedy, “Rumors,” last fall.

Earnesty has performed as Chris Gorman in “Rumors” and Charlie in “Always a Bridesmaid.” She also works behind the scenes and served as costume designer for Geyer's production of “Cats” and AAFC's production of “Little Mermaid.”

“The Odd Couple” cast also includes Diana Lucia, Dani White, Joan McCann, Dolores Love, John Wisilosky and Jack Forbes.

AAFC's season will continue with its next production, “The 25th Annual Putman County Spelling Bee” July 20-23 directed by Chelsea Forbes.

“Despite the title, it is an adult show geared toward an audience of 12 and over,” says Marilyn Forbes, president of AAFC.

Next up Aug. 10-13 is “Catch Me if You Can,” directed by Shawn Conway. Based on the movie, the musical tells the true-life story of Frank Abagnale Jr., a con man whose endearing ways make him a lovable and fun character.

Tyler Handford will direct the Tennessee Williams' classic drama “A Streetcar Named Desire” Sept. 7-10. Forbes says Handford directed “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” a few years ago at the theater and was asked to return to continue to bring the drama of Williams to the stage.

The musical “The Addams Family” directed by John Cunnard will round out the current season Nov. 16-19.

Forbes says except for “The Odd Couple,” all of the 2017 shows will be making first-time appearances on the Geyer stage and AAFC is thrilled to be able to bring such a versatile season to its audiences.

Candy Williams is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.

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