“The Odd Couple” opens at HART, Aug. 22

From a press release:

“The Odd Couple” opens at HART, Aug. 22

HART is bringing the summer to a close with the belly laughs to be found in one of Broadway’s biggest comedy hits, Neil Simon’s “The Odd Couple.” This blockbuster by Broadway’s master known affectionately as Doc, opened at the Plymouth Theater in March 1965 and ran nearly a thousand performances, staring Walter Matthau and Art Carney. The 1968 film version stared Matthau and Jack Lemon. That was such a hit that a TV series followed in 1970 with Jack Klugman and Tony Randall which ran five seasons.

In the play Felix, a fastidious man who has just separated from his wife, moves in with his friend Oscar, a sports writer who has also separated from his wife. Oscar is something of a slob, whose idea of a great evening is poker with his buddies. The comedy situations that evolve have become classics in the theater.  There are two different accounts of what inspired Simon to write “The Odd Couple.” In one Danny Simon, Neil’s brother and early writing partner, moved in with a theatrical agent named Roy Gerber in Hollywood. They invited vriends over and Mr. Simon botched the pot roast. The next day Gerber told him: “Sweetheart, that was a lovely dinner last night. What are we going to have tonight?” Mr. Simon replied: “What do you mean, cook you dinner? You never take me out to dinner. You never bring me flowers.” Danny Simon wrote a partial first draft of the play, but then handed over the idea to Neil.  However, in the Mel Brooks  biography It’s Good to Be the King, author James Robert Parish claims that the play came about after Simon observed Brooks, in a separation from his first wife, living with writer Speed Vogel for three months. Vogel later wrote that Brooks had insomnia , “a brushstroke of paranoia,” and “a blood-sugar problem that kept us a scintilla away from insanity.”  Whichever story is true Simon wrote one of his best works as a result.

HART’s production is being directed by Judy Dybwad and will feature: David Spivey, Steve Turner, Holly Cope, Becky Seymour, Steve Jarrell, John Winfield, Chase Wells and Cord Scott.  This summer HART has a design intern from the UNC School of the Arts, Tony Debernardo.  One of Tony’s assignments has been designing the set for this production of “The Odd Couple.” So look for his model in the lobby during the production.

By Neil Simon, directed by Judy Dybwad
Aug. 22, 23, 29, 30, Sept. 5 & 6 at 7:30 p.m. and Aug. 24, 31 and Sept. 7 at 3 p.m.
Tickets; $22 for Adults, $18 for Seniors, Students $10
Special $6 discount tickets for Students Sundays
Box Office Hours Tuesday-Saturday 1-5pm
Call 828 456 6322 for reservations
Tickets available on line at www.harttheatre.com
Performing Arts Center at the Shelton House, 250 Pigeon St. Waynesville, NC 28786

About Alli Marshall
Alli Marshall is the arts section editor at Mountain Xpress. She's lived in Asheville for more than 20 years and loves live music, visual art, fiction and friendly dogs. Alli is the winner of the 2016 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize and the author of the novel "How to Talk to Rockstars," published by Logosophia Books. Follow me @alli_marshall

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