Twenty years ago, Neil Simon revamped his 1965 stage classic The Odd Couple so that women could take the roles of Oscar and Felix. When Karamu opens The Odd Couple (Female Version) on Friday, it's adding even more diversity. "I wanted a multiracial cast," says director Jean Hawkins. "We have three white women, three black women, and two white guys. It has everything."
The premise of the play remains the same: A neatnik and a consummate slob shack up. Conflicts and hilarity ensue. Only this time, the guys' weekly poker game has been replaced by a night of Trivial Pursuit. "When you go to see a play, there are so many things going on," says Hawkins. "They all have these deep meanings. This one's here to make you laugh."
And, yes, many of the original version's famous set pieces remain, including one involving a plate of hurled spaghetti and a wall that happened to get in its way. Says Hawkins: "I just had to leave that in." The Odd Couple (Female Version) plays at Karamu Performing Arts Theatre (2355 East 89th Street) through November 6. Show times are 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $18 and $21; call 216-795-7070. Michael Gallucci
GroundWorks' ideas flow feet first.
David Shimotakahara, artistic director of GroundWorks Dancetheater, doesn't let the rigid rules of traditional dance dictate his troupe's progress. "We're a company about ideas," he says. "We believe that the real entertainment value of any performing art is when you give people ideas and share ideas with them." The ensemble will perform three works at Tri-C Metro this weekend, including Shimotakahara's "The Music Room." But it's Nusha Martynuk's "Before Night Comes" that has Shimotakahara totally jazzed. "It's a very interesting piece performed with a live singer," he says. "There's this wonderful relationship that's set up between the words in the song, the actions of the dance, and the dancer to the singer. I just love the dynamics and layers." Show times are 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at Tri-C Metro's Main Stage Theatre, 2900 Community College Avenue. Tickets are $16 to $18, available by calling 216-987-4400. Katherine Fulton
Comedian's got a stereotype for every occasion.
Rodney Dangerfield once said to comedian Bob Nelson, "I helped Sam Kinison, Bob Saget, Roseanne Barr, and Jerry Seinfeld become big -- what happened with you?'" recalls Nelson, who replied, "I just love the clubs. [They're] not a stepping-stone for me." And it's the comedy clubs that best suit Nelson's wide cast of characters, including the rowdy Football Guy, Asian Ping Yea, and Hillbilly Philosopher. The latter didn't go over so well in the South. "They were staring at me like 'That's my neighbor. I don't think there's anything funny about that guy.'" He's at the Improv (2000 Sycamore Street) 8 and 10:15 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 8 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $18; call 216-696-4677. P.F. Wilson
DJ Dave channels Alex Trebek at Sunday's Bitches & Bad Answers game show, where three contestants match wits in 15-minute rounds of trivia. "When you stick three drunk people in front of microphones, they block each other from hitting their opponents' buzzers," says Nick Costaris, owner of McCarthy's bar, which hosts. "It's the goddamn funniest thing I've ever seen." It starts at 10 p.m. at McCarthy's, 1231 Main Street. Admission is free; call 216-344-9099. -- Cris Glaser