"The Odd Couple" premiered on Broadway more than 50 years ago, but its comedic story still delivers the laughs.
"And if there is a time when we need 'The Odd Couple,' it's now," said Brandon Guillory, who is directing Theatre Baton Rouge's production of Neil Simon's play. "It's been a hard year, and people need to laugh."
TBR's performances are set for Feb. 19-21 and Feb. 25-28 on the Main Stage, 7155 Florida Blvd. Performances begin at 7:30 p.m., with Sunday matinees at 2 p.m.
The story follows friends Felix Ungar and Oscar Madison, who are complete opposites. Felix is a neurotic, neat-freak news writer who has been thrown out by his wife. He moves in with the divorced Oscar, a slovenly sports writer.
Oscar likes to gamble and spend money; his home is a disaster. Felix is obsessively neat and clean and quite careful with money. The living arrangement is a formula for disaster and lots of laughs.
While the Theatre Baton Rouge cast has been taking safety precautions and wearing face masks during rehearsals, the masks will come off on opening night when Jason Breaux steps on stage as Oscar and Clay Donaldson is Felix.
Getting into the roles was easy for the actors as both found they shared some of the same characteristics. This was especially true for Breaux.
"When my friends found out that I would be playing Oscar, they said, 'That's you,'" Breaux said, laughing. "I'm divorced with kids, and my place is messy."
But messiness doesn't bother the play's Pigeon Sisters. They're just two girls, who want to have a good time. Gwendolyn (Victoria Clement) and Cecily (Lily McGill) Pigeon show up at Oscar's apartment for a dinner date. Their forward bawdiness just adds to the comedy.
"I think you can just describe them as two girls who like to have fun," McGill said. "They're loud, and they're fun."
"The Odd Couple" has its share of tense moments, but there's hope in its conclusion.
"That's something we all need right now," Guillory said. "This play has been done in all genres through the years, and it's one of those classics that's still relevant, and it makes us feel good."
Tickets are $31; $25 for students. Only 40 tickets will be sold for each show to meet social distancing guidelines. There will be no intermission.
For tickets, call (225) 924-6496 or visit theatrebr.org.