Lead actors look to portraying female Madison and Unger

A cast of eight will appear in Carson Valley Community Theatre's "The Odd Couple (Female Version)" on April 28, 30, May 19, 20 and 21 at the CVIC Hall in Minden.

The Neil Simon female version of the Broadway play offers challenges and many possibilities for those who play the lead rolls of Olive Madison and Florence Unger.

Margaret Edson, who portrays the Madison character, is performing in her first production since moving to Nevada four years ago. She hails from Penn Valley, Calif., where she did several productions for Lake Wildwood Little Theatre and Community Players of Grass Valley. Among those were "Call Me Madam," "Guys and Dolls," "A Bad Year For Tomatoes," "Moon Over Buffalo" and various musical variety shows. She also has done productions for Pleasanton Players and Maui Community Theatre.

Edson views her role as Olive Madison as very challenging for comedic timing. Her husband, Norris, is the stage manager for "The Odd Couple." They have been doing theater together in one capacity or another since they married nine years ago. Between them they have four children, six grandchildren and two great-grand children.

"I am very pleased to be a part of Carson Valley Community Theatre," said Edson.

Maggie Allen, who plays the Unger character, is fairly new to the theater, with one Carson Valley Community Theatre play under her belt.

"Three years ago, after 32 rewarding years in education, I retired," said Allen. "With my 'everything-I-always-wanted-to-do-but-couldn't-because-I-was-working' list clutched in my sweaty little hand, I began to play. My list included everything from Jazzercise, yoga and pottery, to traveling, riding a motorcycle, and working part-time in A Wildflower Florist shop. Close to the top of my list was community theater.

"In the fall of 2004, I nervously took myself to auditions for 'Moonlight Mayhem' and asked to help backstage with productions. I ended up playing a male, because no real male was available, who wore a mustache and sideburns made from my own hair, who sang. It was difficult and really fun."

Allen had so much fun that she again went to auditions, this time for "The Odd Couple (Female Version)."

"I am now playing a female - Thank God - Florence Unger," said Allen. "It is so interesting to watch Florence evolve from a neurotic needy female to a neurotic self-sufficient woman."

Allen thanked the casts and crew for working with her, especially the director of both productions, Rob Richardson.

"A special thanks to Rob Richardson, the director of both productions, for teaching me so much and helping me move from a male amateur actor to a female amateur actor," she said.

Richardson has been directing 25 years. He grew up in Gardnerville and worked with the original Carson Valley Theater Company. He acted and worked behind the scenes as a student at Douglas High School, and directed theater productions for about 15 years in Seattle and Reno.

Although there is no video tape available of the female version of "The Odd Couple," Richardson said he preferred it that way.

"I like my actors and myself to have our own take on the script," he said.

Show times are 8 p.m. April 28, 2 p.m. April 30, 8 p.m. May 19, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. May 20, and 2 p.m. May 21. Ticket prices are $12 in advance or $15 the day of the show. Tickets can be purchased in advance at Tumblewind Antiques & Collectibles or Barone & Reed Food Co., both on Esmeralda Avenue in downtown Minden. Tickets are cash sales only and can be purchased during business hours. Tickets can also be purchased by e-mailing cvctstage@yahoo.com or calling 781-3107. Carson Valley Community Theatre is a non-profit organization.


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