Magic Circle Players Presents:

The Sunshine Boys: A Neil Simon Comedy Classic
March 6 – 21

[Montrose, Colo. | March 2020 | By Patti Powel]

It’s a Broadway classic full of quick zingers, dry one-liners, physical slapstick, and two crotchety old men who will make you laugh, cringe, and cry as Magic Circle Players present Neil Simon’s hilarious comedy tribute to vaudeville The Sunshine Boys.

M.A. Smith (bottom left), Chris Walsh (center), and Bill Bottomly appear in Neil Simon’s hilarious The Sunshine Boys at Magic Circle Players, March 6 to 21. Image, Montrose Photography.

The comedy team of Willie Clark and Al Lewis were stars in their day and made a long, successful career performing their corny sketches but, behind the scenes, the two had a cantankerous love-hate relationship. When Al decided to retire before Willie was ready to leave the stage, the feud really began.

They haven’t spoken in 12 years when a major network plans a TV special on the history of comedy and asks them to recreate one of their iconic routines. Urged on by Willie’s nephew/agent, the two grudgingly decide to work together again, but when they meet to discuss the program, the feud explodes and the fun begins.

Magic Circle veterans M.A. Smith (Willie) and Bill Bottomly (Al) play these two bickering old-timers to perfection, delivering uproarious rapid jabs and gleefully trading insults. Rehashing old hurts revives past resentments about Willie’s impulsive nature and Al’s irritating on-stage habits, but it also showcases why they were top-billed performers.

Exasperated by the duo’s banter, Willie’s nephew and agent, Ben (Chris Walsh), mediates between the two until they agree to perform one of their most popular skits for the TV special.

Their burlesque-style act features an attractive nurse, played by Sarah Reola, who is oblivious to the over-the-top antics and old-fashioned shtick going on around her. The result is guaranteed to induce yuks, groans, and huge laughs. The supporting cast of Ruth Jantzen, Gary Hokit, Jim Frank, and Jim Isler all serve in roles meant to emphasize the wacky behavior of the squabbling headliners.

Director Kathy Murdoch has assembled an experienced stage crew including Assistant Director Tiffany NcNeil and Production Assistant Rachel Krute. “We are so excited to bring this very funny Neil Simon play to Magic Circle,” said Murdoch. “We are all having so much fun and know the audience will, too.”

Evening performances of The Sunshine Boys are at 7:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, March 6, 7, 13, 14, 20, and 21. Sunday matinees are at 2:00 p.m. on March 8 and 15. Tickets are available online at magiccircleplayers.com, by telephone at (970) 249-7838, or in person at the Magic Circle Players box office, 420 South 12th Street, Montrose. Box office hours are 2 to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Thursday, and two hours before each performance.