Alexander (as sloppy Oscar Madison) and Short (as finicky Felix Unger) will perform the Simon classic at 8 PM Jan. 25 and 26 at the Wadsworth Theatre.
The readings, a special event of the 2007-2008 Reprise! Broadway's Best season, also feature Cleavant Derricks (Dreamgirls) as Vinnie, Wayne Knight ("Seinfeld," "Jurassic Park") as Murray, Michael Kostroff ("The Wire") as Speed and Patrick Warburton ("Seinfeld," "Rules of Engagement") as Roy with Rachel York (City of Angels, Victor/Victoria) and Olivia d'Abo (Odd Couple revival) as the Pigeon Sisters.
Alexander had previously told Playbill.com that he had secured the rights to the play, which was seen recently on Broadway in a production that starred Nathan Lane as Oscar and Matthew Broderick as Felix. "I wanted to do an absolute crowd-pleaser," said Alexander. "And since my friend Marty Short and I tend to follow in Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick's footsteps, it's my intention to see if Marty might want to do it with me for a couple nights."
The original Broadway production of The Odd Couple opened at Broadway's Plymouth Theatre in March 1965. Art Carney and Walter Matthau starred as, respectively, Felix and Oscar. The production won four 1965 Tonys, including awards for Matthau (Actor), Simon (Author), Mike Nichols (Director) and Oliver Smith (Scenic Designer). Matthau then repeated his role on film opposite the Felix of Jack Lemmon. The long-running TV version of Simon's work featured Jack Klugman (Oscar) and Tony Randall (Felix).
Martin Short, the Emmy-winning star of "SCTV" and "Saturday Night Live," was most recently on Broadway in Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me. He won a Tony for Little Me and also starred in Broadway's The Goodbye Girl. Best known for his work on the Emmy-winning TV sitcom "Seinfeld," Jason Alexander is also a Broadway veteran. He made his Broadway debut in the original cast of Stephen Sondheim's Merrily We Roll Along, and he also appeared in The Rink, Broadway Bound, Jerome Robbins' Broadway and The Accomplice. Alexander won a 1989 Tony Award for his work in Jerome Robbins' Broadway, and he also starred opposite Martin Short in the L.A. mounting of Mel Brooks' The Producers.
Alexander is currently serving his first term as artistic director of Reprise!
The Wadsworth Theatre is located at 11301 Wilshire Blvd. on the Veterans Administration Grounds. Tickets, priced $40-$95, are available by calling (213) 365-3500 or (714) 740-7878 or by visiting www.reprise.org.
"Can two divorced men share an apartment without driving each other crazy?" was the introduction for the TV series "The Odd Couple" — starring Jack Klugman and the late Tony Randall — which was based on the Simon play.