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As we anticipate the opening of The Odd Couple on September 30th, I decided to take a look back at the history of the show, the films, and the many careers launched by portrayals of the iconic characters "Felix" and "Oscar". I was surprised at some of the names that were on the list... and I think you will be, too! 

(Take notes, the information below will be helpful for Broadway trivia and to impress your friends!)


Neil Simon was already a relatively well known playwright when The Odd Couple premiered on Broadway in 1965, thanks to the success of his 1963 show Barefoot in the Park. When Simon won a Tony award for The Odd Couple he became known as the "hottest new playwright on Broadway" and his career continued to prosper as he launched dozens of treasured shows including They're Playing Our Song, I Ought to Be In Pictures, The Goodbye Girl, Brighton Beach MemoirsJake's Women, and many more. To this day he has received more combined Tony and Oscar nominations than any other writer. 

Without discounting the work that Simon has done, one must recognize that the wide success of his shows can also be contributed to his talented casts, often featuring unknown actors who would later jump to international fame. With well-written, tangible characters that seem to jump off the page, Simon's roles are coveted by actors around the world! Infact, did you know...

When The Odd Couple premiered on Broadway in 1965 it starred Walter Matthau and Art Carney, and scored a Best Actor Tony Award for Matthau. ( Matthau also went on to reprise his role in both Odd Couple films, alongside Jack Lemmon). 

After a successful year and a half run on Broadway, The Odd Couple was revived in 1970 starring two unknown actors who are household names today- Martin Short and Eugene Levy! They wouldn't be the last stars to take on the roles of Felix and Oscar, however. Over the next forty years these parts were performed by Gerard Kelly, Craig Ferguson, Pat Sajak, Matthew Broderick, Nathan Lane, Ethan Hawke and Billy Crudup, just to name a few! 

The Odd Couple went on to inspire a female version, written by Simon, as well as multiple TV-Sitcom spin-offs,including the 2015 adaptation starring Friends star Matthew Perry alongside Thomas Lennon.  

So now, with over FIFTY years of successful runs, we at The Arts Center are excited to have this hilarious, iconic show live on our stage! Directed by Mary Wilson and starring Matt Smith and Ted Verbeten, perhaps this rendition will further launch the careers of all of the incredible local talent involved! 

Well, now you know the abridged history of the production, so don't miss you chance to see it for yourself! Neil Simon's The Odd Couple runs September 30 - October 15, 2016. Tickets are $13 for Adults, $11 for Seniors & Students, and $10 for paid groups of ten or more. For tickets call (615) 563-2787 or click here

We look forward to seeing you at the show!

 


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