HHS graduate lands lead role in ‘The Odd Couple’

JJ Hill as Oscar Madison, and Riley Mulvihill as Felix Ungar, play the leading roles in the male version of “The Odd Couple.” The College Community Theatre production opens Thursday with a pay-what-you-can preview night at Blue Mountain Community College in Pendleton.

Riley Mulvihill has real life experience with roommate oddities.

“I don’t know if I want to get into specifics,” he said with a laugh. “Long story short, I decided to get a studio apartment my last year in Eugene.”

The recent University of Oregon graduate’s own personal situations may have given him some insight into playing the role of Felix Ungar in “The Odd Couple.” The character in Neil Simon’s classic comedy is a bit of a neat freak.

Although not to the level of Simon’s storyline, Mulvihill did share about some issues that came up with five roommates during his second year in Eugene.

“You’d be amazed how big of a deal doing dishes can become,” he said.

A 2014 Hermiston High School graduate, Mulvihill recently returned to Eastern Oregon. He auditioned for “The Odd Couple” at the urging of Craig McIntosh, College Community Theatre artistic director and theatre arts instructor at Blue Mountain Community College. The two met when Mulvihill worked in the information technology department last summer at BMCC.

In his first CCT performance, Mulvihill is excited about taking the stage in “The Odd Couple.” The production also marks his 20th acting role — which dates back to Hermiston Parks & Recreation programs and as a student at Hermiston High School, as well as more recent performances in Eugene.

The play opens with a pay-what-you-can preview night Thursday at 7:30 p.m. in Bob Clapp Theatre, located in Pioneer Hall at Blue Mountain Community College, 2411 N.W. Carden Ave., Pendleton.

The production will be presented in separate male and female versions. McIntosh, director of the male version, said CCT decided to do dual productions to offer audiences a opportunity to experience a double-dose of Simon’s comic genius. Also, he said it provides twice the number of acting opportunities.

Playing opposite Mulvihill is JJ Hill as Oscar Madison. Mulvihill said he’s learning a lot from the CCT veteran.

“He’s a phenomenally talented actor,” Mulvihill said. “He has motivated me into putting a little more thought into my performance.”

The regular performances of the male version includes matinée shows Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. And, evening shows are Friday, May 19; and Saturday, May 20, at 7:30 p.m.

The female version, which features Janette Lemons as Olive Madison and MJ Kuhar portraying Florence Ungar, takes the stage Friday, Saturday and Thursday, May 18, at 7:30 p.m. The female matinée shows are Saturday, May 20; and Sunday, May 21, at 2 p.m.

McIntosh said 20 years after the production opened on Broadway, the playwright wrote a female-based version. Simon modeled it after the original, with women in all of the major roles and he updated it for the 1980s.

Steve Bowen, director of the female version, said just like the original version, hilarity ensues during the production. Audiences should enjoy the differences, including a wacky scene of the gals playing a game of Trivial Pursuit with friends.

Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for children and students of all ages. Kids 3-and-under are not permitted. The Pioneer Hall box office is open Monday through Fridays from noon to 2 p.m. In addition, tickets will be available at the door.

For more information or to reserve tickets, call 541-278-5953.

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