June 28, 2018– Back by popular demand, Neil Simon’s “The Odd Couple” returns to Commonwealth Theatre Company (CTC), Northern Kentucky University’s own professional theatre, running July 6–22, 2018 at NKU’s Stauss Theatre.
This timeless comedy classic features Ken Jones as Felix Unger and George Alexander as Oscar Madison. When Felix moves in with recently divorced Oscar after his own marriage ends, it quickly becomes apparent that the roommates are complete opposites in their habits and lifestyles. Oscar is a sports writer who enjoys junk food and takes a certain pride in his sloppiness. Felix is a neat-freak photographer who cooks gourmet meals and is obsessed with removing each and every bit of dirt and disorder from Oscar’s apartment. Hilarity ensues as the two drive each other crazy – will their friendship survive in spite of their differences?
Mike King, director of “The Odd Couple," wanted a chance to work on a great script with a phenomenal cast. “Neil Simon is the greatest comic playwright of the last 50 years, and this is his greatest, most enduring play,” said King. “His craftsmanship with the structure of a comic line is unparalleled, but he is also capable of creating vivid characters that affect us.”
Ken Jones in his third time playing Felix at CTC believes he and the character share a lot in common. “I like order and structure,” said Jones. “I also like to cook and clean. And sadly, I don’t think I can relax. Oscar says that Felix ‘can’t relax and that he has clenched hair,’ so, in that moment, I feel like Oscar is talking to me as well.” Even with all his problems and issues, Jones thinks Felix is still a very lovable guy. “He carries a certain ‘charm’ within his misery.”
George Alexander, who has portrayed two other characters in past “Odd Couple” productions at CTC, finds Oscar to be relatable. “We’re both a bit messy, and we’re both a bit impatient [but] I’m much less confrontational.” While Alexander appreciates Oscar being upfront with people, he thinks the character can be a bit self-centered. “His world revolves mostly around him, although he clearly cares about his friends.”
The supporting cast of comedy standouts includes Kyle Gaskin (Vinnie), Mindy Heithaus (Gwendolyn), James Jones (Speed), Rachel Perin (Cecily), Charlie Roetting (Murray), and Spenser Smith (Roy). With professional training and experience in improvisation and comedy, each member brings their own special flare to the characters, providing unforgettable moments on stage.
“The Odd Couple” is considered to be one of the classics of the American canon of theatre history. “Oscar and Felix have become a part of our culture through two stage plays, a movie, and two TV shows,” commented Mike King. “But they still have the ability to surprise us and make us laugh.”
For more information call the NKU School of the Arts Box Office at (859) 572-5464 or visit nku.edu/ctc.
About NKU: Northern Kentucky University is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2018! Founded in 1968, we are a growing metropolitan university of more than 14,000 students served by more than 2,000 faculty and staff on a thriving suburban campus near Cincinnati. Located in the quiet suburb of Highland Heights, Kentucky—just seven miles southeast of Cincinnati—we have become a leader in Greater Cincinnati and Kentucky by providing a private school education for a fraction of the cost. While we are one of the fastest growing universities in Kentucky, our professors still know our students' names. For more information on our 50th, visit nku.edu/50.