Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Opening Scene

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Opening Scene

Article excerpt

THE FIRST "Odd Couple," almost lost in the mist of memory, were Art Carney as Felix the compulsive, and Walter Matthau as Oscar the sportswriting slob, in the classic Neil Simon comedy that recently marked the 29th anniversary of its Broadway opening.

Tony Randall and Jack Klugman, who played the roles on the television sitcom, bring the comedy to St. Louis this week for eight performances at the Fox Theatre, beginning Tuesday at 8 p.m. The visit is part of a tour to raise money for the National Actors Theatre, a not-for-profit, Broadway-based, repertory company with Randall as its artistic director.

Simon's play, which begins with the funniest poker game scene ever written or staged, is a hilarious story of two divorced men trying to combine opposite manners, morals and lifestyles. A group of their friends, and a couple of cute women, round out the cast. Mike Nichols directed the original, and Gene Saks was the director of the movie version, with Jack Lemmon as Felix and Matthau re-creating his role of Oscar.

Harvey Medlinsky directs the current tour, with a cast that also includes Jack Aaron, Andrew Boyer, Julie Hagerty, Elizabeth Heflin, Zane Lansky and Michael Lombard. The play runs through next Sunday, with curtain Tuesday-Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 and 8 and Sunday at 2 and 7.

"FLYIN' WEST," a drama about four women trying to save their all-black community from land speculators, will open Friday at the Grandel Square Theatre as the final production of the St. Louis Black Repertory Company season. Previews on Wednesday and Thursday will precede the opener, and the play will run Thursday-Sunday through July 17.

This will be the St. Louis premiere of Pearl Cleage's play, which originally opened at the Alliance Theatre Company in Atlanta in 1992 and has been staged at the Indiana Rep and the Brooklyn Academy of Music. It is based loosely on the real community of Nicodemus, Kan., one of many towns founded after the Civil War by former slaves who left the South and migrated to Plains states like Kansas and Nebraska as homesteaders, seeking to own their own land. At its peak in the 1880s, Nicodemus had more than 800 people, but the population has dwindled to some 50 today. …

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