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Theatre in the Grove closes season with 1960s comedy starting Friday, May 31.

PMG PHOTO: JANAE EASLON - Stevo Clay and Zachary Centers play Oscar and Felix in 'The Odd Couple,' Theatre in the Grove's last show of the 2018-19 season. Theatre in the Grove will bring some of pop culture's favorite, unconventional roommates to Forest Grove with its last production of the season, "The Odd Couple."

 "The Odd Couple" first opened in 1965, winning a Tony nomination for Best Play and the Tony award for Best Author of a Play.

It was turned into a film starring Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau and became a hit television sitcom in the 1970s starring Tony Randall and Jack Klugman.

The Neil Simon comedy classic and Tony award-winning productions centers around Felix Unger, a neurotic, neat freak, played by Zachary Centers, and his slovenly friend, Oscar Madison, played by Stevo Clay.

Felix arrives at the weekly poker party depressed and out of sorts after being thrown out by his wife. Fearing Felix will try something desperate, Oscar, himself in the process of being divorced by his wife, invites Felix to move in with him.

Within a few days, this mismatched pair is on the verge of mutual murder: Felix is frustrated by Oscar's slovenliness, while Oscar is driven insane by Felix's obsession with cleanliness.

Clay, a Cornelius resident, is real-life best friends with Centers, from Forest Grove. The pair, as they prepped for their respective roles, dove into inspiration from the friends played by Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon on the big screen. The two have acted alongside each other before, Clay said.

"(Centers) is one of the best actors I know," Clay said. "He was the Billy Bibbit to my Patrick McMurphy in 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest,' he was my Igor to my Dr. Frederick Frankenstein in 'Young Frankenstein' and he has directed me a few times. We have a strong bond."

For Centers, audiences should take time to see "The Odd Couple" because of how relatable the story is to life.

"Most people aren't an Oscar or Felix wholly, but people take on parts of them," Centers said. "It is easy to relate to being frustrated to live with someone. I can relate to both characters. People will connect to the story and say 'I've been there.'"

Directed by Jeananne Kelsey and Pruella Centers, the cast includes Ken Centers, Dennis Reilly, Chuck Weed and Jeff Wineland as the poker buddies.

Lura Longmire and Mary Reischmann portray the Pigeon sisters, Oscar's neighbors with whom Oscar attempts to set up a potentially passionate double date.

This beloved comedy by Neil Simon is both surprisingly poignant and side-splittingly funny.Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays and 2:30 Sundays, May 31-June 16.

The box office is open from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Wednesdays and one hour before each performance. Tickets also are available online at theatreinthegrove.org.



By Janae Easlon
Features Editor
Forest Grove News-Times and Hillsboro Tribune
971-762-1166
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