Theatre Information

Sterling Playmakers The Odd Couple

By • Apr 18th, 2012 • Category: Reviews, Virginia
The Odd Couple by Neil Simon
Sterling Playmakers
Sterling Middle School, Sterling, VA
Through April 22nd
2:15 with one intermission
$12/($20 for both male and female versions)
Reviewed April 14th, 2012

The Odd Couple is a classic play featuring mismatched friends living together after marital problems. Oscar, a messy sportswriter, invites Felix, a fussy newswriter, to move in with him while deciding what to do when Felix’s wife tells him she wants a divorce. Their differing styles and approaches to life cause mayhem as they learn how to be roommates.

The Odd Couple was a very funny production, with excellent support by the poker buddies and the Pigeon sisters. But this production was owned by the antics of Jay Tilley as the slob Oscar and Tom Cohen as the proper Felix. Tilley let loose from his first entrance, “pouring” beers for his buddies and “serving” chips. And he never let up, through all his dealings with Felix’s problems, mannerisms and habits. Watching his reaction bringing in the drinks at the dinner party was priceless. Cohen made his own scenes just as memorable, never making Felix into a pathetic washout, but instead allowing him to be simply human, and a bit overwhelmed with his new life. His time alone with the Pigeon sisters (Erika Jarecki and Jackie Davis) was wonderful, their reactions to his photos weren’t over the top. One problem with that scene was the flowers on the coffee table blocked the three actors faces. The poker buddies (Patrick Schrader, Jim Johnson, Kevin J. Kellenberger and Tim Voit) all made their characters interesting to watch, with different mannerisms and attitudes.

There were a couple of odd choices that director Brian Garrison made. The pre-show announcement was a long video featuring Tilly and Cohen explaining in detail the rules of the theater. At the end of the video, the poker buddies moved into their places and proceeded to break the fourth wall by berating the sound crew for not getting their sound cues right. We heard several themes from a few TV shows (M*A*S*H, Happy Days , then finally The Odd Couple). At the end of the intermission we were treated to six minutes of retro commercials. Some of the commericals were filmed recently, and others appeared to be vintage. The commercials were amusing, but it would have been better had the commercials been split up and played during the two long scene changes, one in each act. Instead we got to watch the stage crew prepare the stage for the upcoming scene.

Overall, this was a fun-filled production of a classic play. If you have the time, take the opportunity to see the Female version this weekend as well, so you can see the differences in the two plays.

Notes From the Director

I wasn’t born in the sixties and what little I knew of that time growing up I learned from my parents, in History class, or watching old PBS specials. I never really had a sense of the underlying pulse or empathetic understanding of what this nation and its citizens were feeling at the time. It wasn’t from lack of caring; I think it’s more that the kind of understanding required can be difficult if you never lived through it. The Sixties are so much more fascinating to me know through the TV show called Mad Men; and that has been the biggest draw for directing The Odd Couple. The interesting thing is this play never breathes a word about anything happening socially, politically, or culturally outside of Oscar and Felix’s apartment — which makes Neil Simon’s comedy so remarkably insulated from the 1965 in which it was originally staged. Perhaps that is part of the play’s brilliance: a comedy that offers its audiences the opportunity, in a decade of turmoil, to forget about their lives for two hours and just laugh at the inane troubles of two middle-aged men. So forty-seven years later, I invite you to do the same.

Brian Garrison, Director of The Odd Couple, Male Version

Photo Gallery

Roy (Kevin Kellenberger), Speed (Patrick Schrader), Oscar (Jay Tilley), Murray (Jim Johnson), Vinnie (Tim Voit) Speed (Patrick Schrader), Vinnie (Tim Voit). Seated Gwendolyn (Jackie Davis), Cecily (Erika Jareki).
Roy (Kevin Kellenberger), Speed (Patrick Schrader), Oscar (Jay Tilley), Murray (Jim Johnson), Vinnie (Tim Voit)
Speed (Patrick Schrader), Vinnie (Tim Voit). Seated Gwendolyn (Jackie Davis), Cecily (Erika Jareki).

Photos by Paul Gernhardt

Male Version

  • Oscar: Jay Tilley
  • Felix: Tom Cohen
  • Speed: Patrick Schrader
  • Murray: Jim Johnson
  • Roy: Kevin J. Kellenberger
  • Vinnie: Tim Voit
  • Cecily: Erika Jarecki
  • Gwendolyn: Jackie Davis

Production Staff

  • Producer: Lora Buckman
  • Director (Male version): Brian Garrison
  • Assistant Producer: Joe Campanella
  • Assistant Director (Male Version): Mary Speed
  • Production Stage Manager: Laura Moody
  • Technical Director: Scott Rueg
  • Stage Manager: Carol Frysinger
  • Assistant Stage Manager: Amanda Carter
  • Runner: Katie Buckman
  • Lighting Technician: Bill Fry, Herb Fuller
  • Sound Technician: Rick Dulik
  • Set Design: Terry DiMurro
  • Scenic Painter: Mary Speed
  • Master Carpenter: Scott Ruegg
  • Costume Consultant: Beth Howard
  • Properties Mistress/Set Decoration: Maria Bissex
  • Properties Crew/Set Decoration: Diana Knollman, Laura Garofolo, Peggy Darr
  • Makeup: Terry DiMurro
  • Publicity Director: Anna Dulik
  • Photographers: Paul Gernhardt, Brian Garrison
  • Cinematographer: Patrick Schrader
  • House Manager: Mary Crowe
  • Publicity Advertising Manager: Angela Hepola
  • Ushers: Kathy Bleutge, John Bleutge
  • Box Office Manager: Emilie Pugh
  • Box Office Staff: Doris Argall, Burgan Pugh
  • Online Box Office Manager: Tim Silk
  • Set Construction: Alex Bhargava, April Bridgeman, Lora Buckman, Joe Campanella, Tom Cohen, Jackie Davis, Jim Davis, Mark Davis, Terry DiMurro, Bill Fry, Carol Frysinger, Brian Garrison, Takashi Iwasawa,, Jim Johnson, Sonya Kalian, Kevin J. kellenberger, Don O’Brien, Beverly Pruzina, Bob Rosenberg, Vicki Sanders-Johnson, Annie V. Scanlon, Patrick Schrader, Janet Devine Smith, Jim Smith, Meredith Solano, Mary Speed, Jay Tilley, Adrian Vigil, Tim Volt
  • Bulk Mail Chairman: Joe Campanella
  • Bulk Mail Crew: Hosson Abu-Ghannam, Tom Cohen, Mary Crowe, Anna Dulik, Kim Fry, Carol Frysinger, Jim Johnson, Jay Tilley
  • Graphic Design: Angie Allison
  • Audition Staff: Mary Crowe, Doris Argall, Laura Garofolo
  • Program Design: Angie Allison, Joe Campanella

Disclaimer: Sterling Playmakers provided a complimentary media ticket to ShowBizRadio for this review.

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started ShowBizRadio in August 2005 because they love live theater. They each have both performed in and worked behind the scenes in DC area productions, as well as earned a Career Studies Certificate in Theater from Northern Virginia Community College.