The Odd Couple at OCP

* When The Odd Couple debuted at the Omaha Community Playhouse in 1968, the great Frank DeGeorge played Oscar the slob and won a Fonda-McGuire award after the Neil Simon show became the season’s most popular with a week’s extension of its run. So I welcomed a point made by its current director, Judith K. Hart, about the fun of seeing fresh faces in familiar roles. If you’ve seen Anthony Clark-Kaczmarek do comedy, you’re eager to see him as the finicky Felix Ungar, a role many of us recall more from Tony Randall on television than Jack Lemmon in the film. Hart doesn’t want her cast trying to recreate the icons, such as Walter Matthau and Jack Klugman as Oscar Madison. She has a fresh new Oscar Madison, a less experienced actor named Ed Cutler. He works as an anesthetist in Fremont. But don’t expect Cutler, who has performed in Fremont and Gretna, to put you to sleep. I’ll spare you such trivia questions as who was the first Playhouse Felix. (Okay, it was C. Richard Draper, who won his Fonda-McGuire award the year before when he starred in dramas by Arthur Miller and George Bernard Shaw.) The most recent local Felix and Oscar? Aaron Zavitz and Scott Kurz in the Brigit version downtown. The latest opens this Friday, Jan. 21, at the Playhouse and runs through Feb. 13 on the main stage. * Leading Ladies doesn’t exactly jump out at you as a title, but Ken Ludwig’s name does as its playwright, promising plenty of laughs when it opens Friday at the Bellevue Little Theatre. I just read a Washington Post review that damned it with high praise. It reminded me of a New Yorker article that puzzled over how so many of us could enjoy such poorly written books as the Steig Larsson trilogy. In other words, the Post panned all Ludwig plays in terms threatening that this one might be as funny as his Lend Me a Tenor and Moon Over Buffalo. You know, like critics who complain that a romantic comedy becomes predictable … as if we don’t want all to end well for Reese Witherspoon, Meg Ryan or Drew Barrymore. Lorie Obradovich directs a cast featuring Andy Niess and Adam Hogston as two Shakespeareans who pose as a wealthy woman’s nieces to inherit her fortune. It runs Jan. 21-Feb. 6 in Bellevue’s Olde Towne. Cold Cream looks at theater in the metro area. Email information to coldcream@thereader.com.

posted at 09:16 pm
on Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

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