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‘The Odd Couple’ opens Thursday night - Albia Newspapers: News

‘The Odd Couple’ opens Thursday night

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Posted: Wednesday, October 11, 2017 9:51 am

Bill Hornback, a veteran of the Ottumwa Community Players, is starring this week in the King Players (Albia community theater) production of the Neil Simon comedy “The Odd Couple,” at the historic King Opera House in Albia. The comedy is being directed by veteran King Players performer, Jan Starcevic.

The comedy also features one of the most iconic characters in U.S. stage, movie and television history, the cigar chomping, barely house-trained sports writer, Oscar Madison, played by Dave Paxton.

The comedy opens Thursday, Oct. 12, 7 p.m., will be performed again on Saturday, Oct. 14 (7 p.m.) and Sunday, Oct. 15, 2 p.m. “Usually a King Players production starts a three-performance run on Friday, but we wanted to avoid competing with the home football game,” said Starcevic. “That’s why we’re opening Thursday, then performing Saturday and Sunday.”

Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for students (12 and under) at the door. All seats are general admission.

Hornback plays the lead role of Felix, the neat freak friend of Oscar Madison, the slob sports writer. Already divorced, Oscar attempts to help Felix when his marriage breaks up. The play, first performed on Broadway in 1965, takes place in Oscar’s New York City apartment, with his poker playing buddies and two upstairs female friends.

Hornback of Ottumwa is new to the King Players, but not to community theater. A Hedrick native and retired Open Bible pastor of 45 years, Hornback has had parts in nine Ottumwa Community Players productions and directed two.

His stage credits include “Brigadoon” (Andrew MacLaren), “You Can’t Take it With You” (Kohlykenkov), “12 Angry Men” (Juror #3), “The Sound of Music” (Max Detwiler), “Death by Chocolate” (John Stone), “Annie Get Your Gun” (Chief Sitting Bull), “On Golden Pond” (Norman Thayer), “Les Miserables” (Javert) and “Man of La Mancha” (Don Quixiote).

Hornback and his wife, Kathy, have been married 45 years, have seven children and 20 grandchildren.

“This is actually the most difficult part I’ve ever had in terms of learning the dialogue because the conversations between Felix and Oscar are so random,” he said. “Several times in the play, the two are talking to each other but are having what appears to be two entirely different conversations.”

Albia Newspaper publisher and editor, Dave Paxton, is glad Hornback decided to head west to perform with the King Players. “It’s like he was born to play this role,” said Paxton. “Bill is just an incredible talent and has captured the Felix character as well as Jack Lemon (the movie) or Tony Randall (the TV series).”

The cast is a mix of veteran and first time actors. Paxton was Daddy Warbucks in “Annie” and Teddy in “Arsenic and Old Lace” and has had many smaller roles in “Oklahoma,” “The Sound of Music,” “Annie,” “Bye Bye Birdie” and “Oliver.” Kevin Maughan plays poker buddy Roy and is also a veteran of the King Opera House stage. Poker pals Phil Summers (Vinnie), Mick King (Murray the cop) and Dave Thomas (Speed) are all newcomers to the King Players.

Becky Thomas and Tiffany Rominger play Gwendolyn and Cecily Pigeon, two ditsy sisters who live in the same building. Oscar definitely has romantic designs on one or both sisters, but Felix and his behavior throws a wrench into Oscar’s plan.

“This is a very funny show and I’m very grateful for the talented cast I have performing it,” said Starcevic. “I think anyone who doesn’t attend this show will miss out on a delightful evening of fun and laughter.”

The King Players (formerly Albia Community Theater) is the performance wing of the King Opera House. Built in 1903, the King Opera House is owned by Albia Area Improvement Association and operated as a non-profit community owned theater for the enhancement of the arts and for the enjoyment of the community.

© 2017 Albia Newspapers. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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