Philly's Walnut Street Spreads Simon's Sunshine in Wintertime, Jan. 24-March 4

News   Philly's Walnut Street Spreads Simon's Sunshine in Wintertime, Jan. 24-March 4 Nostalgia is running high at Philadelphia, PA’s Walnut Street Theatre this season, as the venue has been offering a slate of chestnuts or more-recent works that look back into the past. Termed “A season of classics” by producing artistic director Bernard Havard, the 2000-01 roster includes the musicals Rags, Singin’ in the Rain and A Chorus Line, as well as the thriller Gaslight and, up next, the comedy The Sunshine Boys.

Nostalgia is running high at Philadelphia, PA’s Walnut Street Theatre this season, as the venue has been offering a slate of chestnuts or more-recent works that look back into the past. Termed “A season of classics” by producing artistic director Bernard Havard, the 2000-01 roster includes the musicals Rags, Singin’ in the Rain and A Chorus Line, as well as the thriller Gaslight and, up next, the comedy The Sunshine Boys.

Jan. 16-March 4, 2001 brings Willie Clark and Al Lewis, aka The Sunshine Boys, to the Walnut, as these two aged vaudevillians are asked to reprise their classic routine for a nostalgic TV show. One problem: they hate each other and haven’t rehearsed in years. Many consider this Neil Simon’s best “pure” comedy, ranking alongside The Odd Couple and Barefoot in the Park.

Officially opening Jan. 24, The Sunshine Boys is directed by Frank Ferrante, best known for playing Groucho in various shows for many years. (His solo, Groucho: A Life in Revue and Laughter, has been filmed for PBS). Ferrante is also featured in the Sunshine Boys cast, alongside leads Michael Marcus and Irwin Charone. Supporting players include Anne Connors, Joilet F. Harris, Scott Greer and Harry Philibosian. Dressing the Boys will be costumer Colleen McMillan. Sound design is by Scott Smith, lighting by Jeffrey Koger.

Other Simon plays include Biloxi Blues, Laughter on the 23rd Floor, Fools and The Good Doctor.

For tickets and information on The Sunshine Boys at the Walnut Street Theater call (215) 574-3550. *

Also due this season at the Walnut:

Crazy? Not crazy? That’s the dilemma in Gaslight (March 13-April 29, 2001), Patrick Hamilton’s famous thriller about a husband trying to drive his wife off the deep end.

Closing the season, May 15-July 1, 2001, is one of the modern classics of musical theatre, A Chorus Line, conceived by its original director and choreographer, the late Michael Bennett. The James Kirkwood, Nicholas Dante, Marvin Hamlisch and Edward Kleban musical tells of a typical audition for a Broadway musical and the not-so-typical bios of the actors holding their resumes.

For ticket and subscription information on the Walnut season, call (215) 574-3550.

Founded in 1809, the Walnut Street Theatre is the oldest still-in operation playhouse in America. The Walnut was a Shubert tour and pre Broadway venue from the 1940s-1970s. In 1963, the building was declared a National Historic Landmark. In 1983, the not-for-profit Walnut Street Theatre Company was formed by current artistic director Bernard Havard. Future plans include constructing a flexible 350-seat space.

— By David Lefkowitz