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‘The Odd Couple’ is a time-machine trip to the 1980s

Olive Madison, played by Jenn Morris, offers solace to Florence Unger, portrayed by Ilana Newman, on the news of her break-up with her husband.H.N. Brugger/Special to The Journal
Female version opens May 3 at Sunflower Theatre

It’s the ‘80s. It’s physical comedy and clever jokes. It’s NYC sports fans and game night It’s neurotic friends!

It’s “The Odd Couple/Female Version” opening at the Sunflower Theatre on Friday, May 3.

You may recall “The Odd Couple” as a Broadway play or a TV sitcom, but in Neil Simon’s revision of his hugely successful play, the lead characters are Olive (instead of Oscar) Madison and Florence (in lieu of Felix) Unger.

What makes them an odd couple?

Where Olive is messy, untidy, and unconcerned about the state of her apartment, Florence is obsessively clean, tidy, and obsessed with hygiene. Olive’s easy-going outlook on life soon clashes with Flo’s highly strung neurotic tendencies when Olive invites the recently dumped Florence to move in as her roommate. The real test comes when Olive arranges a double date with the Castazuela brothers.

“In our current world, so many things seem to separate us. What we find with Olive and Flo is that despite their hilarious and maddening conflict, in the end, we see two friends who care very much for each other, struggling to reroute their lives after unexpected loss,” said director Hattie Miller. “While they consistently misunderstand each other, their intentions are in the right place; they are still human.”

“The elements of this touching story all combine to remind us that, despite our differences, we can support and care for each other. And that’s the best part,” she said. ”It’s OK! We can still be friends. We can still support and love each other. Even if it’s not in the way we expected.”

The Sunflower Troupe has added several new members for this production. Both female leads are new – Jenn Morris and Ilana Newman – are Nick Ferraro and Kristen De Roo. Newman and Ferraro are returning to the stage after a post-high school theater hiatus, and DeRoo is a first-time actor! Of course, the troupe includes veteran members Elizabeth Dickey, Terri Helm, Silvia Fleitz, and Steven Free. Whether new or veteran, this cast has great chemistry.

“The Odd Couple/Female Version” opens at the Sunflower Theatre on Friday, May 3, at 7 p.m. That weekend on May 4 and 5, the troupe will offer matinees at 2 p.m. The show repeats performances on Friday, May 10 at 7 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday, May 11 and noon and 2 p.m. Tickets are $20 and are on sale now at https://sunflowertheatre.org/events/the-odd-couple-female-version-by-neil-simon/.

“With Neil Simon you know there will be laughter. Then add on the undeniable setting of the ‘80s and you get something truly wonderful,” says Miller.

“It has been so fun to reminisce and contribute some of our favorite parts of that iconic decade and the Sunflower Troupe looks forward to sharing that fun with you,” she added.