Greater Hamilton Civic Theatre’s ‘The Odd Couple’ promises comedy on local stage

Theatergoer’s who are looking for a classic comedy full of laughter won’t want to miss Greater Hamilton Civic Theatre’s presentation of “The Odd Couple.”

“Audiences may be familiar with Neil Simon’s ‘Odd Couple’ from the 1968 movie starring Jack Lemon and Walter Mathau and/or the 70′s TV show of the same name with Tony Randall and Jack Klugman in the roles of Felix Unger and Oscar Madison. This play was the start of it all,” said GHCT Director Rhonda Lucas.

Oscar is recently divorced and living on his own, and at the opening of the show Felix finds himself separated and tossed out by his wife. Having nowhere to go, Oscar offers to let Felix move in with him.

The two protagonists are polar opposites; making them an odd pairing.

“The Odd Couple” premiered on Broadway in 1965 and the plot revolves around two mismatched roommates. GHCT’s cast members seem to fit their roles perfectly.

“All but one member of the cast has previously done at least one show with GHCT before. Four out of eight have studied theater at the college level. They are all extremely talented. Scott Christian is playing Oscar Madison and has been in dozens of productions with GHCT. He will have you know that in real life he’s not far off from Oscar. He slides into the role with ease.

“Tyler Parsons plays Felix Unger. Tyler’s antacid consumption is on par with Felix. These two are close friends in real life, which makes their onstage playfulness that much more endearing,” Lucas said.

The cast is rounded out by Mike Blessing (Murray), Adam Drake (Roy), Jacob Campbell (Vinnie), Brian Smith (Speed), Brandie Gill (Gwendolyn) and Sydney Higgins (Cecily). Brett Sandlin produces the show.

The Journal-News caught up with Lucas in a Q & A and she offered us an insider’s look at the production.

Q: What can audiences expect from a night out at the theater?

Rhonda Lucas: The audience can expect a great comedy with both physical antics, and more importantly, Neil Simon’s trademark quick wit and barbs.

Q: Why did you want to do this show and why is it a good fit for GHCT?

A: I was originally supposed to direct “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” in this time slot. But then COVID happened. “Sweeney Todd” would require a cast of thirty or more and at least sixteen members in the orchestra, as the Omicron variant raved on back in January, GHCT decided this might not be the right time to tackle a big and rather expensive musical.

So, we put our heads together and decided that a great comedy with a smaller cast would be the way to go. What we needed to bring to our audiences was fun and laughter. The last couple of years have been trying. “The Odd Couple” is a well-known play and we hope audiences will be excited to see something that feels so familiar.

Q: Why would you encourage the community to come out and see the show?

A: Fun and laughter. As the saying goes, laughter is the best medicine, and we could all use a little healing. It’s a chance to get away from the TV screen and enjoy sharing space with humans again. Live theater offers that communal experience.

Q: What would you hope audiences would walk away with after seeing it? Are there any practical lessons we can learn?

A: The importance in compromising in human relationships.

Q: What are you enjoying the most about being a part of the show?

A: Honestly, having a reason to get dressed and leave my house after two years of staying away from most people. During the rehearsal period, I have laughed and gotten to be creative. I’ve also been surrounded by energetic, creative people. It just feels so good.

Q: Is there anything challenging, or surprising about the plot? How can we relate to the characters?

A: On the read-through, the cast had some discussion about whether we were ourselves closer to being a Felix or an Oscar. I’m sure everyone identifies with one or the other and can identify people in their lives who fit into those molds. I lean towards Oscar, but the Felixes in my life fill-in for my weaknesses. It’s about appreciating what we all bring to the table.


What: “The Odd Couple” presented by Greater Hamilton Civic Theatre

When: 7:30 p.m. April 28-30; 2 p.m. May 1

Where: Parrish Auditorium, 1601 University Blvd., Miami-Hamilton campus

Cost: $17 for adults, $16 for seniors 60 and older and students. Groups of 20 or more are $15 each

Tickets and info:, (513) 737-PLAY

Other: All patrons must wear a mask while attending performances, per Miami University policy


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