ST. LOUIS, Mo. - The New Jewish Theatre will open its 19th Season on October 8 with Neil Simon’s classic comedy The Sunshine Boys. Thematically, the productions of the 19th Season deal with issues of identity; religious, gender and personal. The Sunshine Boys falls very much in this realm, dealing with issues of personal identity for its main character. But it is classic Simon, having been called “pure ham on wry” by the NY Post.

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The story is about two old vaudevillians who toured together for over forty years as the top-billed comedy team of “Lewis and Clark” but have not spoken in more than ten. As the play opens, (1972), the two have been asked to reprise their act for a CBS retrospective on the history of comedy. Neither is keen on opening up all of the old wounds. The grudging reunion brings a flood of memories, miseries, and of course laughs. Curmudgeonly Willie Clark (Bobby Miller) still clings to his identity as an actor even though he can no longer get any work, while his comic partner Al Lewis (Peter Mayer) has accepted his retirement and his current role in life as father and grandfather.


In this love letter to American theatre history, Simon loosely based his two main characters on an actual and widely known vaudeville comedy act, “Smith and Dale” (Joe Sultzer and Charles Marks). Their famous “Dr. Kronkhite” sketch is recreated in Simon’s own style in the “doctor” scene in the play.


Mixed in with all of the humor and laughs is a great deal of warmth and poignancy. The Sunshine Boys is Neil Simon at his best. No one can combine those elements as he can.


Doug Finlayson directs a cast that features long-time friends and acting partners Bobby Miller* and Peter Mayer* as the two vaudevillians. Rounding out the cast are Julia Crump, Bob Harvey, Fannie Belle-Lebby, Leo Ramsey and Jared Sanz-Agero. The Sunshine Boys will run October 8 – November 1 in the JCC’s Wool Studio Theatre, 2 Millstone Campus Drive. Single tickets are $39.50 - $43.50 and are available at newjewishtheatre.org or 314-442-3283. Season subscriptions are also available through the box office or online. #

 

Via Press Release

 

 

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