Guests will be laughing from beginning to end at “The Odd Couple,” female version, staged by The Oro Valley Theatre Company on Nov. 14, 15 and 18, artistic director Judi Rodman believes.
“The Odd Couple,” female version, is the theatre company’s opener in its first full, three-show season. The company staged “Our Town” to full houses at The Gaslight last spring.
Why the female version of “The Odd Couple?”
“It’s a comedy, and I wanted to bring comedy,” Rodman said. “We want people to say ‘I loved it, and I’ll be back.’”
The sophomore OVTC is “at the stage of our theatrical development” where a comedy is appropriate, Rodman said. “We’re not ready to do experimental work.”
Laughter, then. It is “just as memorable and even more hysterical” than the original, Rodman said.
Sasha Case and Jamie Walter play the leads, Florence and Olive, the female versions of Oscar and Felix. They’re supported by Robert Armentrout, Sue Bishop, Nadia Fike, Ruth Ann Larsen, Jesus Limon and Misti Nowak. Marty Waters is the producer.
“I’m having fun every single day,” said Case. “It is awesome, even when it’s not smooth, and it’s rough, and it’s challenging. It has been a total delight.”
They are eight charming, entertaining people, Rodman said, and Case agrees.
“I have some very darling cast mates,” Case said, who added that as artistic director, Rodman doesn’t miss a thing. “It’s a really rigorous experience. And it is an amazing script. I loved ‘The Odd Couple’ growing up. I find it a laugh a minute.”
Audiences should find particular glee in the scene with Case, Walter, Armentrout and Limon. It is “one of the most hysterical scenes in all of Neil Simon’s comedies,” Rodman said.
Simon died in August, and this production is something of a tribute to his contributions to the American theater, Rodman said. Simon is sometimes dismissed as being “ordinary,” yet he is “beloved by the American theatrical public.” And “he’s too much fun.”
After “The Odd Couple,” the company presents “Love Letters,” a two-person dramatic reading with Judi and her husband, Bill Rodman, one night only Feb. 13. “Love Letters” is a Pulitzer Prize nominee written by the late A.R. Gurney.
Then, for three shows, April 25, 26 and 28, the company takes a leap at the musical “The Fantasticks,” which opened in New York in 1960, and ran for 57 years. It’s a Romeo and Juliet love story with a happy ending, Rodman said, who added that they’ve never attempted a musical before.
“I’m very much looking forward to that challenge,” she said.
Dave Perry is the president and CEO of the Greater Oro Valley Chamber of Commerce.