In tribute to a giant of the American theater who passed away in 2018, Drama Dock presents Neil Simon’s comic masterpiece, The Odd Couple (Female Version), opening February 15 in Kay White Hall at Vashon Center for the Arts. The show runs Feb. 15, 16, 21, 22 and 23 at 7:30 pm, and Sundays Feb. 17 and 24 at 1:00 pm. The show is directed by Chaim Rosemarin and features a bright and talented cast of Vashon stage performers.
For those of a certain age, The Odd Couple was a hilarious, long-running television series starring Tony Randall and Jack Klugman, though Neil Simon’s play began life on Broadway and was quickly adapted in a roaringly successful movie starring Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau.
There is a delightful twist in Drama Dock’s offering: This version features women as the main characters, in a new play specially conceived and adapted by Neil Simon himself. The familiar lovable slob, Oscar Madison and his fuss-budget roommate, Felix Unger, as well as most of the supporting cast have been recreated as women, while the two charming English Pigeon sisters are now the debonair Spanish-born Costazuela brothers. Simon’s original Odd Couple leads are transformed as Olive Madison, played in Drama Dock’s production by Cate O’Kane, and Florence Unger, played by Dedra Dakota. The cast also includes Bonny Moss, Thea Vernoy, Chai Ste.Marie, Sue DeNies, James Norton and Russell Baker.
While celebrated as a master-craftsman of the well-timed joke, Neil Simon’s writing is also poignant and sharply focused, and his sensitive perceptions of human nature are on full display in The Odd Couple (Female Version). Drama Dock’s production is centered on the female buddy story, with six girlfriends who have known each other for a long time getting together weekly to play Trivial Pursuit. When Florence Unger suddenly and unexpectedly splits with her husband, her friend, Olive Madison invites her to come live with her. The two women have opposite personalities. Florence is uptight, domestic, and fastidious; Olive is sloppy, careless and carefree. Naturally, they soon get on each other’s nerves, and in typical Neil Simon style, hilarity takes over and the linguini flies. When Olive’s neighbors, the dashing Costazuela brothers (James Norton and Russell Baker) enter the scene, the fun is fever-pitched. Ultimately, the story has much to teach about friendship and loyalty, and Neil Simon’s language and authentic characters gives us a wonderful window into comedy writing that has stood the test of time.
Tickets: $20 /$18 for Students, Seniors, VCA and Drama Dock Members, available at VashonCenterfortheArts.org, the VCA Box Office, 206.259.3007, and at the Door.