Well, two weeks of rehearsal have flown by, and we're about to start Week Three of The Sunshine Boys. Each morning begins much the same as the last -- a relaxed but intense scene, for sure. One cluster of actors will be running lines, some will be grabbing the morning coffee, others may be comparing notes on last night's television, while the stage management team is setting up for the day's work. But those are about the only ordinary things about rehearsal and its participants.
John Guare famously wrote of Six Degrees of Separation...this, in turn, became a game in which players traced Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. The phenomenal cast assembled by David Saint and the GSP team for The Sunshine Boys makes it possible for us to trace six or fewer degrees of separation from the luminaries of American show business history.
The cast collectively boasts well over 150 years of showbiz experience in the worlds of stage, screen and television. Our two "sunshine boys", Jack Klugman and Paul Dooley, are the recipients of recognition from the Emmys, the Tonys, the Golden Globes, the BAFTAs, the National Board of Review, and even the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Sunshine veterans Klugman, Peggy Crosby & Ebony Jo-Ann return from the acclaimed 1997 National Actors Theatre production which played Broadway and a national tour. Yet these talents, joined by Dooley , Paul Stolarsky and an alumn of the GSP touring company Joe O'Brien, amaze day in and day out as they bring a fresh eye to this all-new production. Not a day goes by in which these actors, under our "fearless leader" David Saint's direction, don't discover something new and surprising in their characterization and interpretation.
They bring with them the experience of counting many all-time favorites as friends and colleagues, regaling us daily over lunch with stories of everyone from golden greats (Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall) to Golden Girls (Bea Arthur and Rue McClanahan), Paul Lynde to Paul Scofield, E.G. Marshall to Garry Marshall -- and everyone in between. The rehearsal hall's walls echo with reminisces of the stars of yesterday and today: Judy Garland, Sammy Davis, Jr., Ethel Merman, Tony Randall, Burt Reynolds, Robin Williams, Larry David.
The Sunshine Boys celebrates a rich legacy of American comedy, and stars Klugman and Dooley truly embody that legacy. So there aren't many degrees separating you, the audience member, from any of the men and women mentioned above. And by the way, you can reach Kevin Bacon, too!
GSP Patron ---> Jack Klugman ---> Neil Simon (worked with Jack on The Odd Couple and The Sunshine Boys) ---> Kevin Bacon (worked with Neil Simon on an early film role, Only When I Laugh).
GSP Patron ---> Paul Dooley ---> Michael McKean (co-starred with Paul as part of Christopher Guest's "rep company" in modern comedy classics such as A Mighty Wind and Waiting For Guffman) ---> Kevin Bacon (appeared with McKean in Planes, Trains & Automobiles)!
Can you reach Kevin in fewer degrees from one of our illustrious cast members? Let me know, c/o this blog! In the meantime, it's back to rehearsal for what I'm sure will be the perfect show to celebrate ten years of David Saint's artistic leadership of George Street Playhouse. On with the show!
-- Joe Marchese, Assistant Director, THE SUNSHINE BOYS