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Columbus production of ‘Odd Couple’ aiming to attract younger crowd

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The Senior Repertory of Ohio Theatre Company normally produces plays for older crowds with its veteran actors. But in an attempt to appeal to a younger crowd, the company is presenting a female-themed version of “The Odd Couple.”

The SRO Theatre Company is scheduled to present “The Odd Couple” at the Van Fleet Theatre Columbus Performing Arts Center, starting at 8 p.m. Thursday and running through April 15.

“The Odd Couple” is about two women, Olive and Florence, played by Elaine Miracle and Lori Cannon, respectively, who are complete opposites and roommates dealing with relationships that ended badly.

“The play is set in the time where women were getting into the business world,” Miracle said. “Throughout the play, my character is trying to maneuver around in a (man’s) world. … She is an independent career woman, and her roommate Florence is the polar opposite of her.”

The SRO Theatre Company is “trying to bring in younger audiences, especially baby boomers, by choosing plays with subject matters not strictly geared for those over 55,” said Dawn Farrell, SRO Theatre Company president.

“We recently performed the musical ‘Annie,’ which was definitely geared towards all ages, not just the 55-plus,” Farrell said.

“The Odd Couple” wasn’t originally written for women, and the SRO Theatre Company is using that to help create a commentary on gender.  

“It was originally written for men,” said director Janetta Davis. “The female theme in this play is really mocking gender roles and stereotypes. In the ’80s, women were expected to be big girls who don’t cry and feminine as well.”

Miracle said because she and Cannon have known each other for a while, their relationship adds to the play’s chemistry.

“Lori and I grew up in the same hometown of Cambridge, Ohio,” Miracle said. “Lori is fun to work with because she brings new information and ideas to her character.”

Cannon said her character is compulsive and obsessive.

“But throughout the play, she comes to find that those are things that she needs to overcome in order to find happiness,” Cannon said.

The cast is comprised of actors who have been involved in the world of theater for many years.

Several cast members attended Ohio University together as theater majors.

“A few of the actors have been on a hiatus, but are excellent actors that the public will want to see on stage again, which should help ticket sales,” Farrell said.

Davis said she is blown away every night by their talent and it is a joy to work with this cast. She said she hopes the audience enjoys the production and all she wants them to do is laugh.

The SRO Theatre Company wants audiences to know the play isn’t particularly deep.

“There is no deep, dark message to this comedy,” Miracle said. “But I hope the audience understands that even though Florence and Olive are polar opposites, they are still good friends and end up helping each other grow as women by the end of the play.”

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