Cow Patti Theatre is bringing one of Neil Simon’s most iconic productions — The Odd Couple — to the stage while also paying tribute to the playwright who passed away in Aug. 2018.
Running from Nov, 15th until Dec. 16th, Cow Patti’s stage will feature the comedic chemistry of the characters Felix Unger and Oscar Madison, played by Garfield Andrews and Salvatore Scozzari respectively.
Andrews has been working with CowPatti since 2000 — starring in The Butler Did it, Perfect Wedding, Odd Couple Female Version and The Long Weekend — and he is looking forward to taking on the role of Felix, who is notoriously knit-picky, tidy, clean and anxious.
“Every actor loves to sink their teeth into a role like this. It has such great character arc from where they start to where they end. The dialogue is witty, funny, emotional — it has everything,” Andrews said.
The role, which has been played notably by actors like Jack Lemon and Art Carney, is something that Andrews hopes to put his own vision on.
“I am doing my own thing and that is the great thing about a well-written play with a well-written role. Ten actors can play it and it will be 10 different things. It is great fun to play,” he said.
To prepare for the role Andrews has been developing his chemistry with Scozzari — which has surprisingly lead to a realization between the two.
“I think we are even a bit opposite — he is more Felix and I am more Oscar,” Andrews said, with Oscar Madison being the more untidy, epicurean character.
“The chemistry is great, the lines are starting to come and we are bouncing off each other. Even socially when we go out, it is a great group of guys and we really get along.”
Scozzari, who’s resume includes working for Mirvish Productions, the Strattford Festival and an acclaimed credit in the movie Hairspray, also noticed that they are playing opposite roles of their real-life personalities.
“We are both from Toronto and I reached out to Garfield to see if he wanted to read our scenes,” Scozzari said. “I invited him over and I took out my freshly printed one-sided script. It was in a duo-tang and I had all our scenes marked up.
“Garfield came in and he ripped open the envelope it came in and the pages were all askew.”
Scozzari is excited to take on the role, partly made famous by the late, great actor Walter Matthau.
“Oscar was most recently played by Nathan Lane, so a lot of great actors and great comedic icons have played this role. They are big footsteps to follow.
Scozzari said Cow Patti guests can expect a genuine good time when they come see this production.
“The script speaks for itself,” he said. “The banter is very quick and I think everyone has a little Felix and a little Oscar in them. Any relationship will always have an Oscar and Felix”
Andrews added, “They will have a great time. They will be well entertained and it is great cast that AnnaMarie (Lea — Director) has put together. Every character is well defined and everything is in it. There is humour, there is pathos — it is a great play and you are going to have a great time.”
Scozzari added that Cow Patti’s productions are right up there with anything he has even acted in over the last 25 years.
“I had the opportunity to work the Citadel in Edmonton a few times and at Theatre Calgary. Just because this is a small town, I don’t consider the calibre of what we do here any less than what I have done on the bigger stages. Come out and have a great time.”
Reservations for The Odd Couple can be found on the Cow Patti website.