Raye Birk & Peter Michael Goetz to Lead Guthrie's SUNSHINE BOYS

SUNSHINE-BOYS-20010101

The Guthrie Theater today announced the full cast and creative team for The Sunshine Boys-acclaimed Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and screenwriter Neil Simon's sidesplitting comedy. Directed by Gary Gisselman (A Christmas Carol, Lost in Yonkers), The Sunshine Boys will feature Guthrie favorites Raye Birk (Faith Healer, Third) and Peter Michael Goetz (1776, The Government Inspector) as Al Lewis and Willie Clark, respectively, a pair of crabby, retired vaudeville comedians persuaded to reunite after 11 years apart – despite the fact that they hate each other. When these seasoned stage partners are convinced to reunite for a CBS television comedy special, hilarity ensues. The New York Times called The Sunshine Boys "an evening that keeps you laughing and then leaves you surprisingly moved." The production also features a special cameo from renowned improvisational comedian and Brave New Workshop founder Dudley Riggs as Sketch Patient.

Actor Raye Birk has performed in more than 100 professional Theater Productions, including more than two dozen at the Guthrie, and has been featured in nearly 150 television shows and more than 20 feature films. Often recognized for his role as the villain, Papshmir, in the comedic film series The Naked Gun, and as mailman Walt Twitchell on "Cheers" which he later reprised in the hit show "Frasier," Birk has appeared in films such as A Serious Man, North Country, Sweet Land, Factotum, Star Trek: Insurrection, Class Act and Doc Hollywood, as well as many of television's most beloved sitcoms, from "Seinfeld" and "Murphy Brown" to "Third Rock from the Sun" and "The Golden Girls."

Peter Michael Goetz's impressive career, which boasts almost 100 productions at the Guthrie, spans nearly half a century with countless film and television roles. Goetz made his Broadway debut in 1981 and has since appeared in Broadway productions of Beyond Therapy, The Government Inspector and Neil Simon's Brighton Beach Memoirs. On screen Goetz has appeared as Dr. Welty in My Girl, King Kong Lives, Jumpin' Jack Flash, The World According to Garp, as the groom's father in Father of the Bride and its sequel (alongside Steve Martin) and more than 200 television shows including "Arrested Development," "The West Wing," "Gilmore Girls," "The Practice" and "Home Improvement."

To round out the cast, Gisselman has assembled a brilliant team of talented actors. Robert O. Berdahl, who wowed audiences last summer in his turn as the dimwitted Captain Corcoran in H.M.S. Pinafore, will play Ben Silverman, Clark's agent nephew who engineers the reunion between the aging performers. Guthrie mainstay Nathaniel Fuller, last seen on the Guthrie stage as the abusive schoolmaster-among other characters-in A Christmas Carol, will take on the role of Television Director. Jennifer Maren will make her Guthrie debut in the role of Sketch Nurse. On the heels of her portrayal of Sister Margaret Alexander in Penumbra Theatre's production of The Amen Corner at the Guthrie, Greta Oglesby will play Registered Nurse. University of Minnesota/Guthrie Theater Actor Training Program student Samuel Finnegan Pearson will play Eddie, the Assistant Director.

The artistic team includes John Arnone (Set and Costume Designer), Don Darnutzer (Lighting Designer), Reid Rejsa (Sound Designer), Carla Steen (Dramaturg), Martha Kulig (Stage Manager) and Justin Hossle (Assistant Stage Manager).

Single tickets for the Guthrie's production start at $29 and are now on sale through the Guthrie Box Office at 612.377.2224, toll-free 877.44.STAGE, 612.225.6244 (Group Sales) and online at www.guthrietheater.org.

The GUTHRIE THEATER (Joe Dowling, Director) was founded by Sir Tyrone Guthrie in 1963 and is an American center for theater performance, production, education and professional training. The Tony Award-winning Guthrie Theater is dedicated to producing the great works of dramatic literature, developing the work of contemporary playwrights and cultivating the next generation of theater artists. With annual attendance of nearly 500,000 people, the Guthrie Theater presents a mix of classic plays and contemporary work on its three stages. Under the artistic leadership of Joe Dowling since 1995, the Guthrie continues to set a national standard for excellence in theatrical production and performance. In 2006, the Guthrie opened its new home on the banks of the Mississippi River in Minneapolis. Designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Jean Nouvel, the Guthrie Theater houses three state-of-the-art stages, production facilities, classrooms and dramatic public lobbies. www.guthrietheater.org

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