‘Odd Couples’ duel – at David Douglas High

Two different casts are acting, in this outer East Portland show! Find out why, and see sneak preview photos of the actors in action …

Rehearsing their version of Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple at David Douglas High School, Oscar (played by Christian Huezo) is perplexed, after he burns the roast for a dinner date with Gwen (played by Katie Nitz) held by Felix (played by Jason Yelton), as a bemused Cecily (played by Alyssa Odman) looks on.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

The comedic play The Odd Couple is coming to the David Douglas High School’s (DDHS) Horner Performing Arts Center Theater, March 8 through the 17th.

Having been a comedy series on TV five years in the early 1970s, many people think of The Odd Couple – Felix and Oscar – as being played by Tony Randall and Jack Klugman. But it started out as a stage play!

In this scene from the female version of The Odd Couple, the slovenly Olive (played by Julia Archer) kicks up her feet while her fastidious new roommate, Florence (played by Sarah Muller), can’t stop tidying up the place.

The popular TV sitcom series was based on the storyline and the characters of a play written by Neil Simon, premiering on Broadway in 1965 – starring Walter Matthau as slovenly Oscar Madison, and Art Carney as fastidious and neurotic Felix Ungar.

Then, in 1968, it was made into a motion picture staring Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau. The success of the movie is what led to the TV series.

In the male version of The Odd Couple, Oscar tries to relax Felix, who has wrenched is neck while trying to “throw back” a drink at a seedy nearby bar.

“What many people don’t know is that, in 1985, Neil Simon revised the play to feature female roommates, Florence Ungar and Olive Madison,” revealed DDHS Drama Instructor David Rosenbaum, the show’s Director. So now there are two official versions!

“The main reason we chose The Odd Couple is that we have so many talented and enthusiastic actors,” Rosenbaum told East Portland News.

“At first, we were thinking about doing either the male or female version, but they are just too many student actors that are deserving of a good role,” Rosenbaum explained.

DDHS Drama Instructor David Rosenbaum directs actors working on a scene from their upcoming production, The Odd Couple.

“For example, we have really great leads to play Felix and Oscar in the male version, and also great leads for Florence and Olive in the female version, giving us an opportunity to showcase all of our student actors as we present both versions of the play,” Rosenbaum said.

So, different casts will play alternating shows during the two-week run, summarized Rosenbaum.

Florence (standing) just can’t stop cleaning, while Olive tries to enjoy a game of Trivial Pursuit® with Renee (played by Neva Van Meter), Sylvie (played by Robyn Banasky), Vera (played by Brianna Borresen), and Mickey (played by Sasha Selva).

About the story
The Odd Couple is about a “clean freak” and a “slob” trying to live together in the same apartment – two more manically mismatched roommates there have never been.

“And, even though it’s a comedy, I really appreciate that it does deal with a community of people who have a friend who is in crisis,” Rosenbaum remarked.

During a poker game – Oscar, Roy (played by Ethan Blair), Vinny (played by Konner Rudisill), Murray (played by Carla Diaz Canul), Speed (played by Alex Thilavanh) are shocked after Murray’s untoward comment.

“Even though they’re very imperfect, their friends are doing their best to help out. It’s a story of flawed people trying to do the best – and, while they don’t know how to go about it, they’re still trying!”

Taking a moment from the separate rehearsals for their upcoming productions of Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple – mirroring one another are student actors from the male cast, Christian Huezo (playing Oscar) and Jason Yelton (playing Felix), facing off against Sarah Muller (playing Florence) and Julia Archer (playing Olive) from the female cast.

The Odd Couple plays March 8 – 17
An odd collection of friends fill out these eight performances of the comedy, including an unforgettable poker game for the men, and a classic game of Trivial Pursue for the women.

Female Version
March 8, 9, & 14 at 7:30 p.m.
March 17 at 2:30 p.m.

Male Version
March 7 & 15  at 7:30 p.m.
March 9 & 10 at 2:30 p.m.

Tickets: $8 Students/ Seniors, $10 Adults for all shows; Box Office in open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 3-5:30 p.m. (on school days only).

To choose your performance – and you really should see both! – reserve your tickets online: CLICK HERE. All performances are at the Howard F. Horner Performing Arts Center, 1400 SE 130th Avenue (between Stark & Division Streets).

© 2019 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™



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