Opening night is next week for cast of 'The Odd Couple' (female version)

The female version of Neil Simon's 1965 Tony Award winning comedy "The Odd Couple" first opened in 1985, starring Rita Moreno and Sally Struthers.

Carson Valley Community Theatre is bringing the comedy to the CVIC Hall in Minden April 28 and 30 and May 19, 20 and 21, starring Maggie Allen and Margaret Edson. This is Allen's second time performing, the first was in CVCT's "Moonlight Mayhem" last spring. Edson, a more seasoned actress, appeared in several plays while living in Grass Valley.

In this adaptation, Olive Madison, a successful television producer and slob and Florence Unger, a meticulous housekeeper, superb cook and decorator, are complete opposites who are thrown together when Flo breaks up with her husband.

"We play Trivial Pursuit in the female version, rather than poker," said Sue Smith, who plays the role of ReneƩ. "There are six of us who are high school buddies."

Smith began working in community theater when she was 14. Since then she has been in all aspects of productions: acting, directing, technical and behind the scenes, both in California and Japan. Among her favorite roles are Ethel in "On Golden Pond," Frau Schmidt in "Sound of Music," Janet McKenzie in "Witness For the Prosecution" and Clairee in "Steel Magnolias." She has performed Chautauqua personalities for students in Calaveras County, Calif. Her favorite performance in Nevada was as the cancer survivor hat lady in the Carson Tahoe Hospital TV commercial. Most recently Smith directed "Whistlestop" written by her husband John for the Douglas County Historical Society Players.

In the female version, the Pidgeon sisters (who lived upstairs from two men in the original version of "The Odd Couple"), have been replaced by the Constanzuela brothers, Manolo and Jesus.

"The communication between Olive and Florence and the brothers is hilarious," said Smith, adding that there really is a lack of communication since the brothers can't speak English.

The parts of Manolo and Jesus are being played by Bill Luckey and Rob Richardson, who is also the director of the play. Richardson began his theatrical career at Douglas High School and since then has directed plays for about 25 years.

Luckey got his start in show business early in life, at 12, while working with his father on two carnivals. His father was the master of ceremonies and singer of the burlesque show called the "Girl Show." Luckey worked the "front end" of the midway, and in his second year he was "Bally Boy" for the Illusion Show. About half way through the season the "MC" left the show and Luckey got the job, performing such acts as "The Floating Lady," "The Mummy's Case," "The Lady in the Coffin," that he sawed in half, and "The Lady in the Fish Bowl." Later, Luckey went to work for a New Orleans company who produced two TV cop shows, "NOPD" and "The Tracers," as an assistant editor. He worked as technical director for three years, producing such shows as "Murder in the Cathedral," "Witness for the Prosecution," and "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" for the Gallery Circle Theatre in New Orleans. In 1974 he moved to Los Angeles and got a job building sets for TV commercials. He got a part as a cop in "Eat My Dust," worked on "Death Race 2000" and "Moon Shine County Express." In 1981, Luckey worked on "Dark Mirror" as assistant prop master. For the next 20 years he worked as property master or assistant on such features and TV series as "Dark Skies," "Midnight Run," "The Hudsucker Proxy," "Creator," "Black Widow," "50/50," "Sweet Dreams" and "Crossing Jordan."

Carolyn Lancaster, who plays Sylvie, directed the music and performed in CVCT's "Moonlight Mayhem" last year. She performed with Carson Valley Theatre Company in the '80s as the opera singer, Madame Ernestine Von Liebedich, in "Little Mary Sunshine", a chorus girl in "Sweet Charity", and Bloody Mary in "South Pacific." During her college years at Hardin-Simmons University, Carolyn was Monica in Menotti's opera, "The Medium" with the Abilene Symphony Orchestra. She also traveled to Iceland, the Azores, and Bermuda as part of a college USO tour group. Lancaster's interests include board member of the Carson Valley Community Theatre, Carson Communicators Toastmasters and the Mile High Jazz Band. Lancaster looks forward to singing the National Anthem at the May Conference of Toastmasters and at the International Convention of Administrative Professionals in August. She teaches voice, and is married to jazz musician Dan Lancaster.

Lancaster considers the part of Sylvie a new challenge - no music and more dialogue.

"I feel more comfortable on stage performing as a singer, but to play a dialogue character is really quite a challenge," said Lancaster. "I'm enjoying it."

Portaying Mickey is Linda Jo Diego. This is her second acting experience for the CVCT. Her debut was being cast in the part of Clarice, Santa's evil sister, in the holiday melodrama "Santa's Little Helper."

Chanden Tolbert, who plays Vera, says she is most famous for her presence in a fifth-grade talent show and for her "techie" work on a high school production of "Music Man."

Opening night is Friday, April 28, followed by a second performance on Sunday, April 30. The acting group will reappear for three additional performances in May.

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 calling 781-3107 or e-mailing

Carson Valley Community Theatre is a non-profit organization and donations are welcomed.


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