Just announced is official word that Thea Sharrock is set to direct Danny DeVito and Richard Griffiths as the ageing vaudevillian team Willie Clark and Al Lewis in Neil Simon's award-wining comedy, The Sunshine Boys. Previewing from 27 April with press night on 17 May, The Sunshine Boys is booking at the Savoy Theatre for a strictly limited run until 28 July 2012. The Sunshine Boys has designs by Hildegard Bechtler with lighting by Neil Austin and sound by Ian Dickinson for Autograph. Further casting will be announced shortly.
It's long been speculated that if well received, the production will make it's way to Broadway next.
Kings of comedy, Willie Clark (Danny DeVito) and Al Lewis (Richard 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? Old rivalry and vintage hilarity abound in Neil Simon's classic comedy of showbiz and friendship.
Danny DeVito (Willie Clark), who will make his West End stage debut in The Sunshine Boys, won both a Golden Globe and an Emmy award for his portrayal of Louie De Palma in the US hit comedy Taxi, a role he played for five years. His extensive 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. Later this year DeVito will voice the title character in Universal Pictures' animated featureThe Lorax, based on the book of the same name by Dr. Seuss. As a film director DeVito's credits include Matilda, The War of the Roses and Hoffa. This autumn DeVito returns as Frank Reynolds in the eighth season of the acclaimed American cult comedy, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
Richard Griffiths (Al Lewis) 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. Griffiths has previously been directed by Thea Sharrock in Equus at the Gielgud Theatre and on Broadway, and Heroes at the Wyndham's Theatre. His other theatre credits include The Habit of Art for The National Theatre and Rules of the Game and Galileo for The Almeida Theatre. His Royal Shakespeare Company credits include The White Guard, Once in a Lifetime, Henry VIII and Volpone. His recent television credits include Episodes, Ballet Shoes and Bleak House all for the BBC but he is most well known on television for playing D.I. Henry Crabbe in Pie in the Sky. On film Griffiths played the unforgettable role of Uncle Monty in the British black comedy, Withnail and I. His other film credits include the role of Vernon Dursley in the Harry Potter films, as well as Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Hugo, Private Peaceful, Stage Beauty, Sleepy Hollow and The History Boys.
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.