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Female version of 'The Odd Couple' debuts

The girls gather at Olive's New York apartment for a rousing game of Trivial Pursuit, that is until Florence shows up and brings down the party with the announcement that her marriage is over. From left: Shey Peterson (Renee), Tracy Jirschele (Olive Madison), Mimi Effinger (Sylvie), Christy Schwoch (Mickey), Ariann Smith (Vera) and Annette Gannucci (Florence Unger). Photo courtesy Joel Soukkala

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Unger and Madison are at it again! Florence Unger and Olive Madison, that is, in Neil Simon's hilarious contemporary comic classic: the female version of "The Odd Couple," opening at the Encore Performing Arts Center and Gallery on Friday, June 1.

Instead of the poker party that begins the original version, Ms. Madison has invited the girls over for an evening of Trivial Pursuit. The Pidgeon sisters have been replaced by the two Constanzuela brothers, but the hilarity remains the same.

"The Odd Couple" premiered on Broadway in 1965. The characters were revived in a successful 1968 film and 1970s television series. The plot concerns two mismatched roommates: the neat, uptight Felix Ungar and the slovenly, easygoing Oscar Madison.

Simon adapted the play in 1985 to feature a pair of female roommates, Florence Ungar Annette Gannucci) and Olive Madison (Tracy Jirschele). The cast also includes Mimi Effinger, Christy Schwoch, Shey Peterson, Ariann Smith, Sean Biskey and Joshua M. Effinger.

"Stay focused, have fun, remain positive and trust your journey:" This has been the motto of first-time director Jennifer Soukkala.

"At times, we can get so caught up in reaching our destination that we forget to appreciate our journey," Soukkala said. "This has been something special, one of a kind. And I am so proud of the actors and crew for all of their hard work and dedication to this production."

If you go

Who: County Seat Theater Company

What: "The Odd Couple (Female Version)"

When: 7 p.m. June 1-3, 7-9; 2 p.m. June 3, 10

Where: Encore Performing Arts Center and Gallery, Cloquet

Tickets: countyseattheater.com or call box office, 218-878-0071

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