The dream team behind the buzz is reuniting for what could be the biggest show on earth—instead of The Producers, this time Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick are The Odd Couple.
The classic American comedy, never before revived on Broadway, racked up a record-setting $20 million in pre-ticket sales. "I have a lot of relatives," jokes Nathan.
"Everyone thinks of the TV show, which was great, " Nathan says, "but it's so different from the play. The TV show was long after [Felix and Oscar had] been divorced—the play is a little darker."
"As it begins," Matthew says, "[Oscar] is depressed ... and [Felix is] contemplating suicide...then the laughs begin."
"There are expectations with any show, but especially with this," Nathan says. "You have to block all of that out and say, 'All we can do is give them the best experience of the play we can.'"
Even at this point in his career, Nathan still concerns himself with the critics. "I can't remember any good [reviews]," he laughs, "but all the bad ones I memorized. One guy said about me, and I thought it was witty: "Mr. Lane is an irrepressible performer who should be forcibly repressed."
"There are going to be only good things said about The Odd Couple," Oprah assures her modest guests. "It's all the buzz!"
"Well, we got old," Nathan jokes. "But the show never did. Every audience is different and we always had a great time together."
"We would occasionally get a little bored," Matthew admits. "The minds wandered once in a while, as I recall."
For the movie version, Matthew and Nathan say they had to adjust to performing for a quiet camera crew instead of a boisterous Broadway audience. "Matthew used to say it was like doing the show several times a day for a very quiet Wednesday matinee," Nathan says of the filming. "You're so used to an audience's reaction driving the show."
"I found that was one of the hardest things," Matthew agrees. "The timing [for a play] became so much about how long people were laughing. ... We got [to the film studio] in this big cavernous room in Brooklyn and we would [do our shtick] and there would be dead silence and a camera whirring."
"I got on the phone with someone's child and he said, 'Where are you now?' I said, 'I'm in the jungle' and he said, 'Are there phones in the jungle?' I said, 'Well, it's a cell phone. I have a three-picture deal with Disney.'"