Centenary Stage Company Opens Neil Simon's THE SUNSHINE BOYS This Week
Centenary Stage Company's 2020 professional theatre series opens with its production of Neil Simon's The Sunshine Boys this Friday, February 14. The show runs through March 1 in the Sitnik Theatre of the Lackland Performing Arts Center at 715 Grand Ave. Hackettstown, NJ.
The New York Times hails The Sunshine Boys as "Delicious and oddly affecting." The New York Post claims, "It's ham on wry...Simon's sure footed craftsmanship and his one liners are as exquisitely apt as ever," and the New York Daily News says, "Another hit for Simon in a shrewdly balanced, splendid and rather touching slice of the show biz life."
The eight-member cast includes Centenary Stage Company's award-winning Artistic Director, Carl Wallnau, as Willie Clark, and Broadway veteran David Edwards, who returns to CSC as Al Lewis. Other notable Centenary Stage Company veterans joining the cast include Emaline Williams, as the Burlesque Nurse, and Kevin Wehrhahn, as the Director's Voice. Making their Centenary Stage Company debut are Reva Jamison, as the Registered Nurse, and Broadway veteran Jason Silverman, as Ben Silverman, and rounding out the cast are Nextstage Repertory/Centenary University Theatre Students Gabriel Landes, as Eddie the TV Assistant, and Ryan Robert Washington, as the Man/Patient.
Directing the production is Keith Baker. Baker serves as the Artistic Director for Bristol Riverside Theatre in Bristol, PA. In addition to directing more than 90 productions with BRT, including the 2018/19 BRT production of Neil Simon's The Sunshine Boys, Baker served as the cultural ambassador of theatre for the U.S. State Department in Armenia.
As the story goes, Al and Willie as "Lewis and Clark" were top-billed vaudevillians for over forty years. Now they aren't even speaking. When CBS requests them for a "History of Comedy" retrospective, a grudging reunion brings the two back together, along with a flood of memories, miseries and laughs.
The original Broadway production of The Sunshine Boys opened December 20, 1972 starring Sam Levene and Jack Albertson as Lewis and Clark. It closed April 21, 1974 after 538 performances. It was revived on Broadway in 1997, starring Jack Klugman and Tony Randall. It received a West End debut in 2013 starring Danny DeVito, and Los Angeles production in 2013, also starring DeVito and, former Taxi co-star, Judd Hirsh. Audiences will probably best remember the 1975 movie adaptation of The Sunshine Boys, which starred George Burns and Walter Matthau and won Burns an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. There was also a 1996 TV Movie Simon adapted for Hallmark Entertainment starring Woody Allen and Peter Falk as Lewis and Clark, along with Michael McKean, Liev Schreiber, Eddie Falco, Sarah Jessica Parker and Whoopi Goldberg in supporting roles.
Centenary Stage Company's production of Neil Simon's The Sunshine Boys runs February 14 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. Specific performance dates and times are: Friday, February 14 at 2:00 PM (preview) and 8:00 PM (opening); Fridays, February 21 and 28 at 8:00 PM; Saturdays, February 15, 22 and 29 at 8:00 PM; Sundays, February 16, 23 and March 1 at 2:00 PM; Wednesdays, February 19 and 26 at 2:00 PM and Thursdays, February 20 and 27 at 7:30 PM.