BWW Review: THE SUNSHINE BOYS at Centenary Stage Company is a Must-See Comedy
The Sunshine Boys by Neil Simon is now being performed by the Centenary Stage Company through March 1. Directed by Keith Baker, it features a marvelous cast. Whether you've seen this gem of a comedy before, or it's your very first time, you'll find that the production excels in every respect.
Willie Clark and Al Lewis were the popular vaudeville comedy team of "Lewis and Clark" that performed for over 40 years. Al retired from show biz to pursue a financial career while Willie continued his interest in performing. When CBS produces a "History of Comedy" special, Willie's nephew and talent agent, Ben gets the duo on the show. But it's been years since the comedy partners have seen each other and their reunion hardly goes well. The two elderly men have very different lifestyles. Willie resides in a run-down NYC hotel suite and Al has settled in suburban New Jersey to live with his daughter. When they must prepare for the show, sparks fly.
The cast masters Neil Simon's clever, quippy dialogue. Carl Wallnau, the Artistic Director of Centenary Stage Company, brilliantly portrays the contentious and stubborn character, Willie Clark. He is joined by a talented cast of thespians that include David Edward as Willie's comedy partner, Al Lewis; Jason Silverman as Willie's dutiful and dedicated nephew, Ben Silverman; and Emaline Williams as the Burlesque Nurse. The cast is rounded out by Reva Jamison as the Registered Nurse; Gabriel Landes as Eddie, TV Assistant; Ryan Robert Washington as Man/Patient; and Kevin Werhrhahn as the Director's Voice.
There are hilarious moments in the show and ones that will keep you musing. They include Willie and Ben talking about Willie's failed Frito Lay's commercial; Willie straightening up his room when he knows Al is coming over; Al and Willie having tea; the vaudevillians practicing their "doctor routine" in Willie's suite; tech rehearsal at CBS studios with the Burlesque Nurse; Willie nagging the Registered Nurse; Ben proposing new living situations to Willie and many more.
The Artistic Staff has done a great job of bringing The Sunshine Boys to the Hackettstown stage. They include set design by Mathew Imhoff; lighting design by Ed Matthews; sound design by Martin Kolb; and costume design by Meghan Reeves. The Stage Manager is Danielle Constance; Assistant Director is Ryan Robert Washington; and Technical Director is Judy Snyder.
A visit to Centenary Stage Company to see their production of The Sunshine Boys is worth the trip from anywhere in New Jersey. We all need a laugh and an opportunity to see a top show.
Centenary Stage Company's production of Neil Simon's The Sunshine Boys is being performed through March 1 in the Sitnik Theatre of the Lackland Performing Arts Center at 715 Grand Ave. Hackettstown, NJ on the campus of Centenary University. The show runs for 2 hours with one intermission. Tickets range from $28.50 to $32.00 for adults with discounts available for students, seniors and children under 12. For more information or to purchase tickets visit http://www.centenarystageco.org/ or call the Centenary Stage Company box office at (908) 979-0900.
Photo Credit: Chris Young