The Sunshine Boys, Starring Danny DeVito and Richard Griffiths, Begins in the West End April 27

By Mark Shenton
April 27, 2012

A new West End production of Neil Simon's 1972 vaudeville comedy The Sunshine Boys, starring Danny DeVito and Richard Griffiths, begins performances April 27 at the Savoy Theatre, prior to an official opening May 17, for a 12-week run through July 28.



It is directed by Thea Sharrock, with designs by Hildegard Bechtler, lighting by Neil Austin, music by Adrian Johnston and sound by Ian Dickinson for Autograph. It is produced by Sonia Friedman Productions and Richard Willis.

Also in the cast are Rebecca Blackstone, Nick Blakeley, Peter Cadden, Johnnie Fiori, Adam Levy and William Maxwell.

In the play, "kings of comedy, Willie Clark (DeVito) and Al Lewis (Griffiths), aka The Sunshine Boys, haven’t spoken to each other in years. When CBS call for the vaudevillian greats to be re-united for a nostalgic History of Comedy, past grudges resurface as they take centre stage once more. Ageing ailments aside, can this legendary double-act overcome their differences for one last show?" 

DeVito, who is making his West End stage debut in the play, won both a Golden Globe and an Emmy award for his portrayal of Louie De Palma in the TV comedy series "Taxi," a role he played for five years. Film credits include Martini in "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," a role he also played on stage, "Terms of Endearment," "Romancing the Stone," "The Jewel of the Nile," "Junior," "Twins" and "Ruthless People." He appeared as the Penguin opposite Michael Keaton's Batman in Tim Burton's "Batman Returns." As a film director, his credits include "Matilda," "The War of the Roses" and "Hoffa." This fall he returns as Frank Reynolds in the eighth season of the cult comedy, "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia."

Griffiths won the Olivier and Tony Awards for Best Actor for his portrayal of Hector in The History Boys at the National Theatre and on Broadway, a role he also played on screen.  He has previously been directed by Thea Sharrock in Equus at the Gielgud Theatre and on Broadway, and Heroes at the Wyndham’s Theatre.  Other theatre credits include The Habit of Art for the National Theatre and Rules of the Game and Galileo for the Almeida Theatre.  TV credits include "Episodes," "Ballet Shoes," "Bleak House" and playing D.I. Henry Crabbe in "Pie in the Sky." Film credits include playing Uncle Monty in the British black comedy "Withnail and I,"  Vernon Dursley in the "Harry Potter" films, as well as "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides," "Hugo," "Private Peaceful," "Stage Beauty" and "Sleepy Hollow."

The Sunshine Boys was first produced on Broadway in 1972 and was later adapted for film and television.  Sam Levene and Jack Albertson played Lewis and Clark in the stage premiere directed by Alan Arkin. Neil Simon's 1975 Academy award-winning film adaptation starred George Burns as Lewis and Walter Matthau as Clark and was directed by Herbert Ross. Woody Allen and Peter Falk played the vaudevillian pair in the television version, directed by John Erman.

To book tickets, contact the box office on 0844 871 7687, or visit www.sunshineboystheplay.com for more details.