Some things just work...a good punch-line; Gramma’s peanut butter cookie recipe and the premise for Neil Simon’s classic Broadway hit The Odd Couple. {mosimage}
    The story line goes something like this; Oscar and Felix are both estranged from their respective wives. For financial reasons the neat freak and slob decide to move in together only to find that the same things that got them into trouble with their wives get them into trouble as roommates and friends — hilarity ensues. 
“I think everybody can relate to that,” said Dr. Paul Wilson, department chair and associate professor of theater and speech at Methodist University.  
    On Nov. 21-23, Methodist University is bringing Felix and Oscar, with all their foibles and charm, to Fayetteville. “We hadn’t done a Neil Simon comedy in long time,” said Wilson. “We hadn’t really done any traditional comedy in a very long time either and we figured this was a good time to do it.”
    The Odd Couple debuted on Broadway in 1965, followed by the movie in ‘68 and the hit television show that ran for several years in the ‘70s. There is even a female version, which proved to be just as popular as the original. From Broadway to the big screen and on to the small screen and stages across America, Oscar and Felix have been entertaining generations with their quick-witted zingers and crazy antics. “There are so many great lines in there that are classic,” said Wilson. Neil Simon has a reputation as being king of the one liners, and he writes brilliant jokes “But what really makes it work is those jokes come out of very solid character delineations,” said Wilson. “A lot of the other stuff just comes out of the way these people play off each other and the jokes play themselves.”
    This version features Justin Leonard as Oscar. Leonard is a communications major from Cambridge, Md. “He is a senior and wanted to do a show before he left,” said Wilson.
    Clinton, N.C., native and theater major Nick Owen is taking on the role of Felix. “Something very interesting that Neil Simon said in the introduction to the published version of the screen play...the main thing that people come up to him today and say is how much they enjoyed playing Oscar or playing Felix when they were in the community theater production or college or high school production,” said Wilson. “For classical actors everyone wants to play Hamlet, in community theater everybody wants a chance to sink their teeth into Oscar or Felix.” 
    So this performance promises to be a good time not only for the audience, but for the actors, too. 
    The show starts at 8 p.m. There is also a matinee at 2 p.m. on Nov. 23. Tickets are $10 for adults and $7 for students. Children’s tickets are also available, but Wilson cautions that there is a miscellaneous curse word or two and suggested that if this play were a movie this one would be rated somewhere between G and PG. Performances will be held at Reeves Auditorium. Contact: (910) 630-7105 or for tickets or more information.

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