By Jessica Tuggle
VERO BEACH — What happens when people with polar opposite cleaning styles try to live together and people gather around to watch? A Tony Award makes it onto the mantelpiece of a play-writing genius.
The Vero Beach Theatre Guild are hoping the long-standing popularity of Neil Simon’s “The Odd Couple” will fill seats in the theater with people and the rafters with their laughter this next week as the guild tackles the hilarious comedy Jan. 10 through Jan. 20.
Dee Ridenour, director of the guild’s production of “The Odd Couple,” said she can’t wait until the cast of eight take the stage and get to perform in front of a live audience.
“We’ve been rehearsing for a long time and what I am waiting for is the first audience, for when and where they will laugh, because you never know,” Ms. Ridenour said.
Ms. Ridenour is a veteran director for the guild, and has had previous experience with Mr. Simon’s work, both as an actress and as a director.
Another director was supposed to take the lead on the production, but when an illness arose, she was chosen to direct and is thrilled.
“It was kind of serendipitous,” Ms. Ridenour said.
The two leads are played by Steve Pagano as the messy Oscar Madison and Jim Daly as clean freak, Felix Unger.
The storyline follows the relationship of the two men after one is thrown out of his house by his wife and moves in with the other.
“I call the two leads yin and yang because they are direct opposites of each other,” Ms. Ridenour said.
“One’s a slob and the other a neat-nik, and that immediately sets up interest and controversy,” she said.
Audiences familiar to the story will enjoy the familiarity of the comedy, but a couple of creative liberties may surprise them, Ms. Ridenour said.
“The show is very well known, and people will recognize it, but I wanted to put my own personality into it, too,” she said.
Other cast members include Jo Giesecke as Gwendolyn Pigeon, Nancy Kelly as Cecily Pigeon, Greg Steenburgh as Speed, Larry Strauss as Murray, Rick Shaw as Roy and Michael Walters as Vinnie.
Tickets are $20-$22 each. Wheelchair and companion seats, as well as youth tickets, must be purchased through the box office. Tickets for those 18 and younger are half-price.
The Vero Beach Theatre Guild is located at 2020 San Juan Ave., Vero Beach. For tickets or more information about upcoming shows, call (772) 562-8300 or visit www.verobeachtheatreguild.com.