VICTORVILLE — The show will go on starting Friday at the High Desert Center for the Arts when StageCrafters Productions presents Neil Simon’s “The Sunshine Boys,” the comedic classic which is scheduled for a two-weekend run.
Sheila Fares, vice president of StageCrafters, told the Daily Press there were no plans to cancel the production amid concerns over the new coronavirus, which has led to the postponement or cancellation of numerous events, as well as the closure of the majority of schools, throughout the High Desert.
“Nope, we are performing tonight,” Fares said in a text message sent Friday afternoon.
Fares directed the local staging of “The Sunshine Boys,” which she said follows the hilarious attempt of a young theatrical agent to bring his elderly uncle — a former vaudevillian great — back together with his longtime stage partner for a TV reunion.
“Despite their celebrated reputation, the two old men haven’t spoken in 12 years and can’t stand each other,” Fares said. “Besides remastering their sketch, the two men have numerous issues to work out before they are ready to return to the public eye.”
“The Sunshine Boys” stars Bill Rains and Bruce Barrymore, as well as Nicholas Dye, Kimberly Shaw, Linda Sparks, Mike Shaw, Michael Barrett and Fares herself.
Friday’s 7:30 p.m. performance will mark the culmination of weeks of preparation and rehearsals for the local production of the play that originally premiered on Broadway in 1972, with Jack Albertson and Sam Levene in the lead roles.
Since its debut, “The Sunshine Boys” has enjoyed great success on the stage and screen.
In 1975, Herbert Ross directed a feature-length film version that starred George Burns and Walter Matthau. It was nominated for three Academy Awards, and earned Burns his first and only Oscar, for Best Supporting Actor.
Nearly 20 years later, Woody Allen and Peter Falk starred in a TV-movie version that Simon updated with an adapted screenplay. CBS aired the new version in 1997. It featured Sarah Jessica Parker, Liev Schreiber, Michael McKean, Whoopi Goldberg and Edie Falco in supporting roles.
“The Sunshine Boys” premieres at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the High Desert Center for the Arts, 15615 Eighth Street, Victorville. Additional performances are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, as well as 7:30 p.m. March 20 and 21, and 2:30 p.m. March 22.