Pictured is Rick Workman as Willie Clark and Audrey Clevinger as a nurse performing in “The Sunshine Boys.” (DHI Media/Kirsten Barnhart)
Pictured is Rick Workman as Willie Clark and Audrey Clevinger as a nurse performing in “The Sunshine Boys.” (DHI Media/Kirsten Barnhart)

VAN WERT – On Thursday, The Sunshine Boys will open at the Van Wert Civic Theatre. The show follows Al and Willie who performed together for over 40 years, but now are not talking to each other. CBS wants to reunite the pair for a “History of Comedy” retrospective but there is some animosity that lies between the old vaudeville actors.

“Willie is a former comedian; he still thinks he is a comedian, and he’s in his 70s now and he’s having a hard time finding employment,” said Rick Workman who is cast as Willie. “He was teamed up with a fellow named Al Lewis. Al Lewis quit on him and once Al Lewis quit the team was broken up and no one wanted to hire Willie on his own.”

Workman said that Willie holds some resentment to Al but others are working hard to get the pair back together.

“[The audience] will enjoy the relationship between Al and Willie because even though there’s animosity there, like in real life sometimes the people you didn’t get along with over the years like the aunts, the uncles, the cousins, as you get older you realize that they might really be your best friends,” said Workman.

Workman is from Lima but has been involved in several Van Wert Civic Theatre performances over the years including “Odd Couple,” “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and more.

“I’ve been coming over here for about 30 years off and on,” said Workman. “I’ve done other shows here. [A friend] invited me over once to try out for a play, and I did. I got a part, and I really liked the people here and working with them.”

“I enjoy acting and the idea of a community putting a show together,” added Workman. “Like I tell people, ‘come to the show, you can laugh with me or you can laugh at me, I don’t care; I want you to have a good time.’ This is the kind of show that you can have a good time as an audience.”

Workman said that the show is geared toward young adults or older teens.

Cast members for the performance include Rick Workman as Willie Clark, Stan Lippi as Ben Silverman, Steve Lane as Al Lewis, J.J. Kurtz as Patient, Jim O’Neill as Eddie, Audrey Clevinger as Nurse, and Amy McConn as Registered Nurse. “The Sunshine Boys” is directed by Doug Grooms and Deb Duncan-Faul is the assistant director.

Tickets for “The Sunshine Boys” are available for $13 and can be reserved by calling 419-238-9689. Show dates are March 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16 at 8 p.m. and March 10 and 17 at 2 p.m. Visit vwct.org for more information.

“I think people will have a good time and enjoy seeing their friends and neighbors putting on a show for them,” said Workman. “I really enjoy coming over here to Van Wert and working with the people here.”