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Long Lake Theater to open 12th season with ‘Odd Couple’

Long Lake Theater opens 12th season

Long Lake Theater, a theatrical mainstay of the area, begins its 12th season in June.

“We are blessed with a community that supports the arts in a big way,” says managing director and founder Bruce Bolton. “We do what we do and the audiences grow every year.  I’m always surprised to see how far people come to see our shows.”   Pulling audiences from as far away as Fargo and the Twin Cities, people continue to be charmed by the theater with two stages in two churches that are over 100 years old in “Downtown Hubbard.”  

The season opens June 12 with the Neil Simon classic, “The Odd Couple.”    

Written during Simon’s heyday, in 1965, with Art Carney and Walter Matthau in the title roles, it became a movie in 1968 starring Jack Lemmon and Matthau, running five seasons (1970-75) as a television sitcom, with Tony Randall and Jack Klugman.

Oscar Madison (Mr. Moore) is a happy slob. Recently divorced, he lives alone in an eight-room apartment in Manhattan, takes minimal interest in housekeeping or food safety (“I have brown sandwiches or green sandwiches,” he announces after finding them under the mess on the sofa) and hosts a regular poker game with his male buddies.

One night one of the players, Felix Ungar, is very late. When he finally arrives, he informs Oscar and the guys that his wife has thrown him out of the house and he has nowhere to go.  

From there the plot is pretty well known, at least to anyone over 45.   Bolton will be directing as well as taking the part of Madison.  “You can’t beat Neil Simon.  We do one of his every summer and people just love it,” says Bolton.

Also on stage this summer is “The Dixie Swim Club.”   Directed by longtime Long Lake Theater veteran Julie Kjenaas, this show guarantees belly laughs.  “This is a chick flick for the stage and a gold mine of witty comebacks.  It’s been very popular all over the country and I’m elated that we’re doing it this summer.  Julie knows just what to do with a script like this,” says Bolton.   

The play follows five women from a college swim team as they reconnect each summer at the North Carolina beach. They celebrate the joys and problems of children, marriage, career choices and aging, with a hurricane thrown in for good measure.

There are a few sight gags and outrageous situations, but most of the humor comes from the great writing of playwrights Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten.  

“The Dixie Swim Club” opens on July 17.

Long Lake Theater is south of Park Rapids, in the village of Hubbard.  Call 732-0099 or check out for tickets and more information.