‘The Sunshine Boys’ at the Waterfront Playhouse (Paradise)

‘The Sunshine Boys’ at the Waterfront Playhouse (Paradise)

Posted Sat, Mar 3, 2001 in Articles

If you’re in need of a good belly laugh, Neil Simon’s comedy, The Sunshine Boys, at Waterfront Playhouse may be just what the doctor ordered.

Key West Players presents the most endearing of this Tony Award-winning playwright’s works, directed by Phil Setren.

There is an opening-night gala at Rooftop Caf following Thursday night’s performance. The play runs through April 21.

Set in New York City the 1970s, The Sunshine Boys tells the story of retired vaudeville comedians Willie Clark (George Gugleotti) and Al Lewis (Joe DeLuca) who are reunited by Willie’s nephew and talent agent Ben (Jeff Baskin) for a CBS television special, “The History of Comedy.”

Though they were inseparable show-biz partners for 43 years, Lewis and Clark started an artistic feud 11 years ago and have not spoken since. The reunion is hilarious and touching.

“We want the audience to experience a glorious era in American stage,” said director Setren this week. Theatergoers are treated to tap dancing, jugglers, piano tunes, and vaudeville-like poster art.

Setren believes the casting was right on the money. “George Gugleotti and Joe DeLuca are naturals for this show,” he said. The cast also features Mira Negron, Tommie Grimstadt, Larry Cohen, Jennifer Naugler, Paul L. Garder, Scott Gilmore and Dennis Hyland.

Setren called upon New York actor Jeff Baskin to play Ben. A seasoned professional, his stage and film credits include roles in Tony and Tina’s Wedding off Broadway and HBO’s Autopsy, in which he plays detective Jim Grant.

Baskin grew up on Neil Simon comedy and says he’s enjoying the Waterfront Playhouse experience. “Especially my relationship with George Gugleotti’s character,” he told Paradise. “George has put a lot of hard work into Uncle Willie – and he has this endearing little smile.”

Tickets are $25. For reservations, call the box office at 294-5015.

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