Fall in love with 'The Odd Couple -- Female Version'
"What Neil Simon does incredibly well, possibly better than any other American playwright, is how he writes fully realized relationships," said Jocelyn Adamski, director of "The Odd Couple -- Female Version" opening today at STC Theater in St. Charles.
Performances are 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 4 p.m. Sundays, Jan. 26 to Feb. 4, at the theater, 3755 E. Main St., Suite 158 in St. Charles. There also will be a matinee performance at 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 4.
Tickets are $22 and available via www.stctheater.com.
STC Theater is a new performing arts organization that is already making a mark in the Western suburbs for its adherence to quality and dedication to picking shows that will resonate with audiences.
For the first show of the 2023 season, the company's artistic director, Tara Frost, selected "The Odd Couple -- The Female Version" as an opportunity to shine a light on an often-underappreciated section of talent in Chicago's vibrant theater scene.
"I chose the female version of 'The Odd Couple' because I am very interested in showcasing female talent," Frost said. "I'm also thrilled to have a very talented female director on board in Jocelyn Adamski.
"Beyond that, I also wanted to provide a light, entertaining show in the dark winter months, and there are few playwrights with better charms of that persuasion than Neil Simon," Frost said.
"As a theater company that is a part of the St. Charles community, we owe it to our friends and neighbors to put on quality entertainment that adds value in the form of smiles, thoughts, and dreams."
Bringing a light to the hearts of theatergoers is exactly what "The Odd Couple -- Female Version" promises to deliver. The show has a legacy of electrifying audiences.
Neil Simon's "The Odd Couple" premiered on Broadway in 1965. The plot involves two friends, one uptight and an obsessive cleaner (Felix) and the other more slovenly and carefree (Oscar). The two become mismatched roommates and their differences translate into epic comedy. At times they clash, but in the end their relationship strengthens.
In 1985, Simon adapted "The Odd Couple" to feature female lead characters. "The Odd Couple -- Female Version" premiered on Broadway with Sally Struthers playing Florence and Rita Moreno playing Olive, female versions of the famous mismatched roommates.
"My vision for the show was to focus on the relationships," said Adamskis. "We are showcasing the love between these characters, to see and feel the care underneath the complaint."
Bringing the two central characters to life in the STC Theater production are Ann Marie Nordby of Arlington Heights as uptight Florence and Tammy White of Woodridge as slovenly Olive. Both are very accomplished actresses.
"I'm incredibly excited to have these two extremely seasoned and fantastic actresses playing leads," Adamski said. "These women are really going to knock it out of the park. The audience will not only see the humor of the piece, but they will really grow to care for and experience the lifetime of love between these women."
The director is equally proud of the rest of the cast, and emphasizes the importance of the ensemble for the success of the show. Rounding out the cast are Andrew Buel of Montgomery, Maddi LeBlanc of St. Charles, Lydia Moore of Plainfield, Gabrielle Nelson of Naperville, and Devon Ortiz and Vickie Poole of Aurora.
"From the first rehearsal, their chemistry and comedic timing together was inspired," Adamski said. "I feel very fortunate to have an incredibly strong ensemble from top to bottom. This cast is really bringing the humor, the chemistry, the excitement and warmth to their roles. They will leave you in stitches."
"The Odd Couple -- Female Version" is expected to be a true crowd pleaser when it opens at the end January. As the artistic director, Frost selected the show as a part of an overall vision for the 2023 STC Theater season to connect to the local community.
"We have an intimate space, so shows like 'The Odd Couple -- Female Version' fit our venue perfectly," Frost said. "Being a new theater, we are focused on producing shows this season that audiences are familiar with. It's our open invitation to everyone and anyone to come experience something new -- a true celebration of the arts in a way that really entertains."
In fact, STC Theater produces both main stage productions and children's productions. Next up will be the Tony-winning "Matilda The Musical," based on the twisted genius of Roald Dahl about a little girl with astonishing wit, intelligence and psychokinetic powers.