While Neil Simon’s latest, The Dinner Party, is doing strong box office on Broadway, one of his early — albeit revised — classics is getting an airing at the Helen Hayes Performing Arts Center in Nyack, NY. The Odd Couple — the female version, that is — ends its limited run there Nov. 18. Barbara Feldon and Rita McKenzie co-star as the feuding roomies.
The Odd Couple began life as a Tony-nominated stage hit, became a well-remembered movie starring Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau, and then one of the all-time great television sitcoms, starring Tony Randall and Jack Klugman.
In 1985, author Simon turned neat Felix into Florence and slovenly Oscar into Olive, with Rita Morena and Sally Struthers doing the Broadway honors. Harvey Medlinsky will stage the Hayes version.
Actress McKenzie, best known for appearing in revues devoted to (and featuring her as) Ethel Merman, has enjoyed a career in film, television and theatre, while Feldon, who last appeared Off Broadway in Cut the Ribbons, is best known for playing Agent 99 on TV’s “Get Smart.”
Marilyn Farina, Debbie Lee Jones, Jeanne Lehman (the recent Broadway Sound of Music) and Melissa Maxwell co-star, with Thomas Buderwitz (set), Moe Schell (costume), Michael Gottlieb (lighting) and Rafe Carlotto (sound) designing the production, which began performances Nov. 4. Other Simon plays include Biloxi Blues, Fools, The Prisoner of Second Avenue, Rumors and Hotel Suite.
The rest of the 2000-01 mainstage season at the Hayes Center will include:
Dec. 2-23: Annie, the Tony-winning musical. Richard Sabellico directs Martin Vidnovic (Baby) as Daddy Warbucks, Jan Neuberger as Miss Hannigan and Kelsey Fatebene as little orphan Annie.
March 17-April 1, 2001: the world premiere of A Tale of Two Cities, adapted by Joseph T. McDonald (book) and Robert Hoover (music and lyrics) probably of a musical.
April 21-May 6, 2001: Alfred Uhry's Tony-winning drama, The Last Night of Ballyhoo.
June 2-17, 2001: A Chorus Line.
For tickets and subscription information ($149-$208) to shows at the Hayes Center, 117 Main Street, Nyack, NY, call (845) 358-6333.
— By David Lefkowitz