By Aaron Moody
January 20, 2017
This town’s community theater group is well known for putting on comedic performances, but its leaders say their next show is setting up to be particularly amusing.
The Towne Players will start their run of Neil Simon’s Broadway comedy, “The Sunshine Boys,” this weekend, with 8 p.m. shows Jan. 27, Jan. 28 and Feb. 3 and 2 p.m. matinees on Jan. 28 and Feb. 4. Doors open an hour prior to all showtimes at the Garner Performing Art Center.
‘The Sunshine Boys’ tells the story of Al Lewis and Willie Clark, a once-thriving pair of comedians who experienced differences before splitting up. Though they’ve grown old by the time the play is set, Lewis and Clark still can’t get along when given the opportunity to reunite for a television special on the history of comedy.
Beth Honeycutt, the Towne Players’ artistic director, said the Garner performances will stay pretty true to the original script, set in the 1970s.
“We’ve been doing Neil Simon shows for the past four years because the audience seems to really like Neil Simon,” Honeycutt said.
The role of Al Lewis will be played by Jim O’Brien, and Willie Clark will be played by Michael Dunavan.
Honeycutt worked with both actors for Simon’s “Plaza Suite” comedy at the GPAC last year, but it occurred to her the two didn’t get to work together because that play is composed of three separate acts.
“I’ve had my eye on this for a while and just wasn’t sure I had the people to play Willie and Al,” Honeycutt said. “When I saw these fellows, I asked them to read and I pre-cast them before we even had auditions.”
Honeycutt said it was unintentional that all of the adult plays she selected this year revolve around aging – how both aging people and those around them deal with it.
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