“Willie Clark is Mr. Show Business,” says Charles Bohanan, who plays Willie's character in Main Street Theatre's upcoming presentation of "The Sunshine Boys." "He's got to be working," he explains. "He can't just sit down and retire. He's got to keep going — and even though he can't get work, he keeps trying."
A resident of Decatur, Charles retired in 2015 as standards director for the Technical Association of the Pulp and Paper Industry. "Sunshine" is his first appearance with Main Street Theatre.
"Comedy is my favorite thing to do, and this is definitely a funny show," says Charles, whose involvement with community theater began about 40 years ago. "There's a rhythm to the way the characters talk, and you know Neil Simon knows it because it's written into the script. We're trying to be
careful about getting the lines exactly right because there is an exact way he wants you to say them."
Community theater veteran Lee Finocchio makes his Main Street Theatre debut as Al Lewis in the upcoming production of "The Sunshine Boys."
Al is a more laid-back, thoughtful character than his comedy-team partner, according to Lee, a Norcross resident who was raised in the Bronx.
"Al can come on and do a great show -- boom, boom, boom! -- and then walk off stage, leaving it behind him," Lee says. In contrast, his partner, Willie Clark, played by Charles Bohanan, "just goes nuts if anything is not done exactly the way he thinks it ought to be done."
"I grew up with people like Al and Willie — their expressions, the way they carry themselves," Lee adds. "I know these people!"
After a move from New York City a few years ago and getting away from acting for a bit, Evan Green saw the character of Ben Silverman as "a role I had to do."
"I was looking to get back into acting," he explains. "I saw 'The Sunshine Boys' come up for auditions, and I love Neil Simon."
Evan, who provides IT services for a non-profit, is a newcomer to Atlanta-area community theater.
"I've found it very welcoming," he says of Main Street Theatre. "I've enjoyed learning about the community from the other actors and been thrilled to see their commitment to doing work of the highest caliber."
In the play, Ben persuades his Uncle Willie Clark and one-time comedy partner Al Lewis to re-unite for a TV special.
"I relate to Ben a lot," Evan says. "He wants to do good job as a talent agent in his profession, but more so, he genuinely and earnestly cares about Willie and Al. Even when they are driving him up one wall and down the other, even when he truly wants to leave and give up, he stays and tries as many ways as he can think of to do what's best."
Ellen Wynn initially auditioned for the Registered Nurse role in Main Street Theatre's upcoming production of "The Sunshine Boys," but she ended up being cast as the Sketch Nurse in the Neil Simon comedy.
"That was a real ego boost!" laughs the Tucker resident, who is making her Main Street Theatre debut.
"I get to really camp it up in this role, which is a blast," she continues. "To play an actress playing an actress — I can be completely outrageous and have it come across as entirely appropriate!"
Ellen, whose day job is providing sales support for an IT company, resolved many years ago to get involved in local theater once she became an empty-nester.
"My youngest left for college last month," she says, "and when my boyfriend saw the ad for auditions, he pushed me out of the nest! And I’ll be eternally grateful. I hope to be involved with Main Street Theatre in a variety of capacities — on and off stage — for years to come."
The overarching creative drives at this point in Jonathan McCullum's life are acting, writing and film making.
"I jump at any opportunity to do any of them," he says. "So, I'm happy that I was given a chance to be a part of bringing this great story that Neil Simon wrote to the stage."
A member of the theater troupe called Murder Mystery Company, Jonathan is making his Main Street Theatre debut in "The Sunshine Boys" playing the part of Eddie, assistant director for the revival of The Sunshine Boys' famous comedy routine.
"Even though he is overlooked and kind of spoken down to, Eddie does his best in every situation," says Jonathan, who lives in Riverdale.
"The play shows that no matter how strong a conflict is between friends and family, a strong bond will never die," he continues. "The feelings that connect us to others can always be rekindled and shine through anything.
Saundra Davis Forrest wanted the part of the Registered Nurse so much, she showed up for the audition wearing a makeshift nurse's uniform.
"People laughed, but since I didn't know anyone — and I wanted to be 'memorable' — I went for it!" she grinned.
As nurse O'Neil in Main Street Theatre's upcoming production of "The Sunshine Boys," Saundra plays a "no-nonsense professional" with one eye on her immediate responsibilities and the other on retirement.
A first-time actor, Saundra, a Tucker resident and trial lawyer with her own firm in Snellville, says she decided to audition because Main Street Theatre is close to home, that all ages, ethnicities, and body-types were welcome, and no prior experience was required.
"I'm very open to new experiences to express my creative side," she adds, "and this experience has not disappointed at all. The support of everyone involved, from directors and producers to costumers and actors, is very welcomed and appreciated."
Saundra Davis Forrest
Jason Garrett's role as the Patient in "The Sunshine Boys" is certainly the least demanding of his previous work with Main Street Theatre.
"It's a very small role," he laughs. "I just do what I'm told!"
Jason played the orderly in Main Street's first production, "Harvey," and was a cast member in "You Can't Take it with You." In addition, he performed in two Christmas skits.
"I like the witty banter of the old men. It's very funny," he says of "Sunshine."
A native of the small town of Weiner, Arkansas, Jason now resides in Loganville and works at Cofer Brothers where he pulls orders, checks and loads trucks, helps customers and sometimes drives a truck.
"I love my Main Street Theatre family," he says. "Community theatre is so much fun. I hope I can continue doing it for a long time."