Tuesday, July 19, 2016

REVIEW: The Odd Couple at Theatre at the Center in Munster, IN

Adult Night Out:
Theatre at the Center's 
The Odd Couple
through August 14th

Talk about type casting...  Norm Boucher and George Keating were made for these roles, and each are equally hilarious bringing the infamous opposites, Oscar and Felix, to life on stage. This production had the whole audience in stitches over the misadventures of these rudderless BFFs, navigating the choppy waters of divorce, absentee fatherhood, housemate drama, suicidal tendencies, and dating fiascos.  Highly recommended for a nostalgic night out and a good laugh. 

George Keating (Grand Hotel and Meet Me in St. Louis at Theatre at the Centerstars as Felix along with Norm Boucher (The 39 Steps and Big Fish at Theatre at the Center) as Oscar

 Norm Boucher (left) stars as Oscar Madison and George Keating (right) as Felix Unger. ©Theatre at the Center, 
All Photos by Michael Brosilow

The supporting cast of poker night pals were a hoot too! Additional cast include Larry Adams (Spamalot and A Christmas Carol The Musical) at Theatre at the Center) as Roy; Brett Tuomi, who has appeared at Goodman Theatre in A Christmas Carol and The Iceman Cometh, as Murray the Cop, is making his Theatre at the Center debut; Ray Andrecheck, whose television credits include Chicago P.D., as Speed, is also making his Theatre at the Center debut; and Geoff Rice (A Christmas Memory and Leading Ladies at Theatre at the Center) plays Vinnie.

Kudos to the Pigeon sisters, Colette Todd (Gwen) and Jocelyn Adamski (Cecily), for the over the top laughter, and wonderful characters as well. Jeff Award winner Colette Todd (Big Fish and Beverly Hillbillies, the Musical at Theatre at the Center) plays Gwen. Jocelyn Adamski, who plays Cecily, has performed at Carnegie Hall and most recently appeared singing and dancing in Wheaton Drama’s production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, is making her debut at Theatre at the Center.

Sure, Chicago has stellar theatre in the city, but Theatre at the Center hits the mark, and is well worth the drive. Highly recommended! 

My son and I ended up sharing a table with Theatre at the Center’s full time props designer, Brittney O’Keefe. She confirmed our gut feelings about the whole vibe of Theatre at the Center being like one big, supportive family. She also said this show was fun to design props for, with the quick apartment transitions from slovenly to neat freak sheek. 

I wish my home had revolving book cases where I could stash all my junk when relatives and friends come to visit! Short of that, I might have to trade my long suffering husband and kids in for a clean freak housemate like Felix. Although I do think his hypochondriac ways would get old fast. 

Finally, we love that Theatre at the Center has jumped on the Signature Show Cocktails wagon. I tried "The Oscar", an awesomely strong dirty vodka martini. They also have "The Felix", a sweet apple martini with a cute parasol garnish. (*available on Friday & Saturday evening performances only). Theatre lovers are social creatures, and show themed drinks make the lively pre and post show conversations and socializing even more fun. They do know how to rock a theme! 

It took us a few years, but here at ChiIL Mama/ChiIL Live Shows we finally ventured out to Theatre at the Center a few months back, on the rave reviews and heartfelt recommendations of some of our fellow theatre critics. Now I'm a convert! Theatre at the Center is simple to navigate to from Chicago and took less drive time than many of our closer theatre haunts where we have to battle cross town traffic. They have plentiful, free parking and a great space. Their 410 seat auditorium is quite spacious and comfortable, while remaining intimate. They even have an art gallery and a gift shop filled with local artisans' works where you can leisurely linger with all the extra pre show time you never expected to have! Furthermore, the talent pool is deep and the shows are professional productions on every front. 

About The Odd Couple

One of Broadway’s most successful comedies and an enduring audience favorite, The Odd Couple is set on the hot summer streets of 1965 New York.   It follows the adventures of two mismatched roommates, Felix Unger, a neurotically neat and fussy news writer, and Oscar Madison, a slovenly sports writer.   The men attempt to adapt to each other’s idiosyncrasies, all the while trying to rekindle their social lives with side-splitting results.

Actors Norm Boucher and George Keating play the leads in Theatre at the Center’s cast for the famous comedy classic The Odd Couple, the 1965 Broadway hit by iconic playwright Neil Simon. Directed by Larry Wyatt, The Odd Couple runs from July 14 to Aug. 14.  

Performances are 2 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays; 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; 2:30 p.m. Sundays; and select Thursday and Sunday evenings and Saturday matinees.   Individual ticket prices range from $40 - $44.   To purchase individual tickets call the Box Office at 219-836-3255 or Tickets.com at 800-511-1552.   Group discounts are available for groups of 11 or more and gift certificates are also available.   For more information on Theatre at the Center, visit www.TheatreAtTheCenter.com.

Director Larry Wyatt’s credits include Some Like It Hot and Over the Tavern at Theatre at the Center. 

Norm Boucher (seated) stars as Oscar Madison and George Keating (standing) as Felix Unger in “The Odd Couple,” the 1965 Broadway hit by iconic playwright Neil Simon. 
© Theatre at the Center, Photo by Michael Brosilow

The Odd Couple production team includes scenic design by Angie Miller, costume design by Brenda Winstead, lighting design by Denise Karczewski, props design by Brittney O’Keefe and sound design by Barry G. Funderburg. The production manager is Ann Davis with Dennis Galbreath as assistant technical director.   Matt McMullen is the stage manager. Richard Friedman is general manager and Linda Fortunato is Theatre at the Center’s new artistic director.

Founded in 1991, the 410-seat Theatre at the Center is a year round professional theater at its home:   The Center for Visual and Performing Arts, 1040 Ridge Road, Munster, Indiana.   Theatre at the Center is the only professional theater company in Northwest Indiana, offering downtown caliber performances in an accessible venue with plenty of free parking.   Theatre at the Center is located off I-80/94, just 35 minutes from downtown Chicago.

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