CTC Performs Gender-Bending 'Odd Couple' 1/24 - 2/16

Jan 24, 2014

Two versions of the Neil Simon Comedy "The Odd Couple" -- one featuring men and the other women -- are presented in repertory at the Chattanooga Theatre Centre beginning Friday, January 24, for 14 performances. Pictured here, the leads from both productions are (seated, left to right) the messy ones -- Carlene Conway as Olive and Zach DeSutter as Oscar; and (standing) the neat ones -- Katlyn Gabor as Florence and Sanford Knox as Felix.
Credit Contributed photo

Throughout the next few weeks, the Chattanooga Theatre Centre will perform two different versions of Neil Simon's classic The Odd Couple--both the well-known version with two male leads, and a newer rewrite featuring two female leads. 

From a media release:

Neil Simon’s comic masterpiece, "The Odd Couple" – both the original men’s version and Mr. Simon’s rewrite for women – will be performed in repertory on the Mildred M. Montague Circle Stage at the Chattanooga Theatre Centre January 24 through February 16.

The hilarious plot centers on a pair of mismatched characters who are forced to cohabitate. One is careless and sloppy, the other a neurotic neat freak. Together they make arguably one of the most memorable pair of roommates ever written, in league with Lavern & Shirley or Bert & Ernie.

The play came to Broadway in 1965 and, twenty years later, Simon adapted the play to feature a pair of female roommates. Felix and Oscar became Florence and Olive.

Beth Gumnick directs both the male and female versions of the story and, to make things even more challenging, Gumnick has cast some actors in roles in both productions.

In the women’s version, which opens the series Friday, January 24, Carlene Conway plays the unkempt Olive and Katlyn Gabor is cast as the tidy Florence. In the men’s version, opening the following night, Zach DeSutter is Oscar and Sanford Knox, Jr., is Felix. Gabor, DeSutter, and Knox all do double duty – appearing in supporting roles in the opposite production.

The play came to Broadway in 1965, became a film in 1968, and was a successful ABC television series 1970 through 1975. One of the CTC’s "greatest hits" that is part of the community theatre’s 90th anniversary, "The Odd Couple" was performed at the CTC in 1987 and was done in repertory with male and female casts at that time as well.

There are 14 productions on the Mildred M. Montague Circle Stage on the following dates and times:

Friday, January 24 8:00 Women’s Cast Opening Night Gala begins at 7:00

Saturday, January 25 8:00 Men’s Cast

Thursday, January 30 7:00 Men’s Cast Featuring real-time captioning

Friday, January 31 8:00 Women’s Cast Ghost Light Session after the performance

Saturday, February 1 8:00 Men’s Cast

Sunday, February 2 2:30 Women’s Cast

Thursday, February 6 7:00 Women’s Cast

Friday, February 7 8:00 Men’s Cast

Saturday, February 8 8:00 Women’s Cast

Sunday, February 9 2:30 Men’s Cast

Thursday, February 13 7:00 Women’s Cast

Friday, February 14 8:00 Men’s Cast Brewer Media Sponsors Girls’ Night Out

Saturday, February 15 8:00 Women’s Cast

Sunday, February 16 2:30 Men’s Cast

Tickets are $30 opening night, $25 other public performances; $12.50 side section seating available for Thursday and Sunday performances. Tickets may be purchased in advance by calling the box office (423) 267-8534 or online at TheatreCentre.com. The Chattanooga Theatre Centre is located at 400 River Street on Chattanooga’s NorthShore.