'Sunshine Boys' examines fame, aging, human condition

Neil Simon comedy gets heartwarming treatment from local thespians

Posted 8/14/18

In a fine example of cross-marketing, Neil Simon’s hilarious comedy about two aging vaudevillians, “The Sunshine Boys,” played for two weeks in the lobby of the Barth Hotel to benefit Denver …

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'Sunshine Boys' examines fame, aging, human condition

Neil Simon comedy gets heartwarming treatment from local thespians

Posted

In a fine example of cross-marketing, Neil Simon’s hilarious comedy about two aging vaudevillians, “The Sunshine Boys,” played for two weeks in the lobby of the Barth Hotel to benefit Denver Housing Options’ affordable housing for the elderly and disabled — and now plays through Sept. 9 at the Vintage Theatre in Aurora.

It’s a treasure, featuring a first-time joint appearance by veteran actors Joey Wishnia and Roger Simon, who are perfect as the grouchy, achy, old Al Lewis and Willie Clark, vaudeville partners for 43 years — and now not speaking to each other.

Willie’s caring nephew and theater agent, Ben (Ben Silverman), arrives on his regular Wednesday visit, bearing lunch, the latest copy of “Variety” — and the important news that CBS wants to run a big special next month on the “History of Comedy” that will include the Sunshine Boys’ famous “Doctor’s Office” act.

But ... this involves a short rehearsal and Lewis and Clark being in the same room for awhile ... and Al is on his way over to Willie’s apartment now!

Director Bernie Cardell spoke happily of the bonus for him of working with this seasoned pair, who had lots of ideas about staging Simon’s play.

It seems Al chose to retire, while Willie wanted to continue working — although he has trouble remembering lines, Ben reminds him. Both codgers dwell on the others’ faults and Willie soon becomes so enraged, he suffers a heart attack. The next scene is in the hospital where the concerned Al comes to visit.

Act 2 begins with the proposed rehearsal — a skeleton inhabits the doctor’s office and a nurse and a patient appear ...

“The Sunshine Boys” works its way through the skit — and to a satisfactory ending that will send the audience out still smiling at this lovingly produced gem.

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