It was about time, I thought, that our 12 year-old grandson Ryan Rosenblum becomes acquainted with the theater of Neil Simon. So we happily accepted director-friend Jeff Hayden’s invitation to see his production of Simon’s “Sunshine Boys” at the intimate–and very convenient Odyssey theater in Westwood.
The Tony-winning play had its original success on B’way in 1972, a hefty revival in 1997 plus award-winning big and small screen versions. Hayden’s revival stars Hal Linden, Allan Miller and Eddie Kehler–plus an enthusiastic supporting cast. I have seen all versions and was happy we brought Ryan to see the youngest “Boys.” Even though Linden is recovering from hip surgery–it didn’t slow him down as he played Willie Clark versus Al Lewis in the classic battle between the two senior vaudevillians.
So—I thought I’d phone Neil Simon at home in New York to tell him his “Boys” are still going strong. Simon sounded delighted with my report and happily informed me there are companies of “The Sunshine Boys” playing around the world–and now the good news–he says he’s writing a sequel to “The Sunshine Boys”–“a couple of years later–in New York and London,” he said. He has other show ideas as well in mind and has no plans to retire as he approaches his 80th birthday, July 4. Simon is feeling fine–having undergone a successful kidney transplant four years ago. The donor was his publicist Bill Evans. In fact–Simon’s wife, Elaine Joyce, is readying a return to the N.Y. cabaret scene–she’s already played San Francisco’s Plush Room. Elaine joins the grandmother ranks in June when daughter Taylor (Mrs. Evan Meyer) welcomes a daughter.