Dickens Parlour Theatre is a 50-seat venue that focuses primarily on magic. Asi Wind, Peter Samelson, Wil Fern, Chris Capeheart, and Harrison Greenbaum are a few of the magicians who regularly perform there. Although the theatre schedules magic almost exclusively during the beach town’s busy summer months, plays and music are also regularly presented, especially throughout the other months of the year.
In The Sunshine Boys Al Lewis and Willie Clark, the elderly members of a once famous vaudeville duo, are reuniting for a TV special after more than a decade apart. The play navigates the strained relationship between the two partners who maintained a long career together despite personal conflicts. The work has the same kind of well-crafted humor that is characteristic of many Neil Simon plays, and it also provides a reflection on the substance and style of the vaudeville era. Yet it is primarily a character study focusing on the emotional entanglements of the two main characters.
“Everybody thinks it’s a comedy and everybody laughs,” said Bob Fitch, who plays Willie Clark. “And it is funny because of the repartee, and the one-liners are fun, but they’re edged with anger on one side and guilt on the other, and for these two old guys, it’s a last hurrah. It was so real to me and so sad that I said ‘oh my God, I’ve got to do this.’”
“I think it draws its energy from the fact that these two guys are trapped in a room, metaphorically and actually” said Bloch, who is playing Al Lewis, “and I think that’s where the humor comes from. They don’t want to be there, they got to be there. They want to leave, they can’t leave. I think this is a really great comedic device that he came up with. The characters are just incredible.” [article continues]
Bloch started The Dickens Parlour Theatre in 2010 and is the venue’s producer and host and sometimes its star performer. He has had a wide-ranging career in magic including performances at the Magic Castle, bookings on cruise ships, and running The Collector's Workshop, a magic manufacturing company he founded.
Bob Fitch, has also had a diverse career in magic, perhaps most influentially as a director and consultant who has helped shape the acts of such performers as David Copperfield, David Blaine, Paul Gertner, and Jeff McBride. He was awarded the Magic Castle's Lifetime Achievement Fellowship in 2008 and named Magician of the Year by the Parent Assembly of the Society of American Magicians in 2010. Fitch is also an actor who has appeared in 27 Broadway shows. He created the role of Rooster Hannigan in the hit musical Annie and also worked with some of the twentieth century’s most notable theatrical creators including directors George Abbott, Michael Bennett, and Gower Champion.
David Kovac, who plays Ben Silverman, the nephew and agent of Willie Clark, is a Chicago-based actor and magician. He has appeared at the Magic Castle and Monday Night Magic and his solo performance is featured at Dickens Parlour Theatre from August 28 through September 2 and again on September 12 and 13.
Lisandra Tena is also featured in the cast. She is a Chicago-based actress who has been recognized by the Chicago Tribune as one of the city’s top emerging artists and also is featured in a recurring role in the television show Chicago P. D.
The Sunshine Boys will run at Dickens Parlour Theater from September 4 through 7 with performances at 7 p.m. on the 4th through 6th and a 2 p.m. show on the 7th. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at: http://www.dptmagic.com.