By Ally Morrison
Homewood Theatre will be showcasing its latest production, Neil Simon’s “The Odd Couple,” at its new location in SoHo.
Originally a 1965 Broadway show, “The Odd Couple” in 1968 was turned into a film, followed by a television series in the ‘70s.
The version being produced by Homewood Theatre is an adaptation Neil Simon did in 2002.
The plot features two mismatched roommates, uptight and neat Felix, played by Howard Green, and easygoing and disheveled Oscar, played by theater Executive Director Kyle Bass.
“Together, they have a poker club, and comedy ensues from there,” said play Director Marietta Lunceford.
Lunceford originally is from Chicago but moved to Birmingham at the age of 4. She got involved in theater through her father’s interest in theater at a Jewish Community Center. Her father lost interest after a few productions, but Lunceford never did.
Bass is the one who selected “The Odd Couple” as the first show of the new year.
“I’ve always loved the show, I’m a big Neil Simon fan,” Bass said. “We did ‘Barefoot in the Park’ a few years ago. It seemed like a natural fit. Especially this year coming back from the pandemic, we wanted to give our audience good shows and shows they knew. Everyone knows ‘The Odd Couple,’ so getting to play a part in it is going to be fun.”
Bass became involved in theater during high school in Rogersville. He went on to study at Birmingham-Southern College and participated in a few theatrical events during his college years.
His interest in theater continued as he worked with Virginia Samford Theatre, and he wondered how a Homewood community theater would work out. Homewood Theatre was established and put on its first production in 2017.
Green, who plays Felix, is from Pinson. He recently retired from the railroad after 30 years. Green got involved in theater when a friend invited him to participate in a local play. Reluctantly, he obliged.
“I ended up doing the show I was invited to do, and I fell in love with it,” Green said. “It’s been a saving grace for me for the past 20 years now. I love working with Homewood Theatre and under the direction of Marietta. Her production falls beautifully in place. She’s a great director and very knowledgeable. With Kyle running it, it’s great. It’s a fabulous organization.”
Among his favorite productions were “Gray Gardens,” “Gypsy” and the Jewish Community Center’s “My Favorite Year.”
He also remembers The Odd Couple series and said it always was special to him.
According to Bass, Homewood Theatre underwent hard times during the start of the pandemic, canceling two shows at the end of its 2019/2020 season and being unable to have a 2020/2021 season.
“One of the things we did during the pandemic was an outdoor show, called Working Without Pants,” Bass said. “It was an original show, and we got people to tell their pandemic stories. It was the largest audience we’ve had, of 250 people. We social-distanced in the parking lot, and it was a lot of fun. During the pandemic, it was hard. This summer, we eased back into things and, eventually, in August of 2021, we geared up for our 21/22 season.”
Homewood Theatre is in the process of moving locations, due to the major reconstruction at Brookwood Village.
“We are going to have a new location in Soho Square, on the corner of 19th Street and 28th Avenue South across from Demetri’s,” Bass said.
The production will be live Feb. 10-20, and tickets can be purchased online at homewoodtheatre.com.