The Female Odd Couple – Spring
Directed by: Miriam Weiss
The Odd Couple is a 1965 Broadway play by Neil Simon, followed by a successful film and television series, as well as other derivative works and spin offs, many featuring one or more of the same actors. The plot concerns two mismatched roommates, one neat and uptight, the other more easygoing and slovenly. In the original play these were male; Simon also made a version for a pair of female roommates, called The Female Odd Couple.
Sources vary as to the origins of the play. Most sources claim that Simon was inspired to write the play when he saw his brother Danny Simon and theatrical agent Roy Gerber living together after recent divorces. However, in the Mel Brooks biography It’s Good to Be the King, author James Robert Parish claims that the play came about after Simon observed Brooks, in a separation from his first wife, living with writer Speed Vogel for three months. Vogel later wrote that Brooks had insomnia, “a brushstroke of paranoia,” and “a blood-sugar problem that kept us a scintilla away from insanity.”
Danny Simon, also a writer, took the first crack at the play, but later handed over the idea to Neil. The show, directed by Mike Nichols, ran for 966 performances and won several Tony Awards, including Best Play.
Felix Ungar, a neurotic, neat freak newswriter (photographer in the television series), is thrown out by his wife, and moves in with his friend Oscar Madison, a messy sportswriter. In its original Broadway run, Ungar was played by Art Carney and Madison by Walter Matthau. Matthau was later replaced with Jack Klugman.
The play and the film both spell Felix’s name Ungar, while the television series spells it Unger.
In 1985, Neil Simon revised The Odd Couple for a female cast. It was titled The Female Odd Couple and was based on the same story line and same lead characters, now called Florence Ungar and Olive Madison. The poker game became Trivial Pursuit and the Pigeon sisters became the Costazuela brothers, Manolo and Jesus.
On Broadway, Sally Struthers and Rita Moreno starred as the couple in the original cast, with Lewis J. Stadlen and Tony Shalhoub (in his Broadway debut) as the Costazuela brothers. The play was directed by Gene Saks and ran for 295 performances.
A London production of this at the Apollo Theatre in 2001 starred Paula Wilcox (Florence) and Jenny Seagrove (Olive).
(Wikipedia: The Odd Couple)
Shot in the Dark – Winter
Directed by: Jonny Steiner
Adaptation of a stage play by Harry Kurnitz
A pretty maid is discovered unconscious, holding a gun while her lover lies dead beside her.