Kent County Theatre Guild starts its 58th season Friday with Neil Simon’s “The Sunshine Boys” at 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 23, at the theater, 140 E. Roosevelt Ave., Dover.


Kent County Theatre Guild starts its 58th season Friday with laughs and dueling showbiz egos. The guild opens with Neil Simon’s “The Sunshine Boys” at 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 23, at the theater, 140 E. Roosevelt Ave., Dover.

“Sunshine Boys” follows Al Lewis and Willie Clark, a couple of retired vaudevillians. The two were once a booming comedy duo, Lewis and Clark, but their act is now long gone thanks to Lewis’s retirement. After 40 years in the business, the two split and don’t speak for years when an offer comes up for them to reunite. Before they can re-create comedy magic again, though, they have to put old issues to rest.

Director Necia Beck was drawn to the show largely because of the characters, and their complex relationship.

“I enjoy comedies that have very well developed characters, and Neil Simon does that pretty well,” she said.

Finding the two curmudgeons was a breeze, she said. The chemistry between Kevin Smith and Steve Caporiccio, who play Lewis and Clark, stood out even during cold readings of the script. They wanted to play against each other before, and she was happy to accommodate them for this show.

Much of the play’s comedy comes from the twosome’s frayed relationship and unresolved issues.

“I find that some of the best comedy occurs when you have to deal with tensions,” she said.

Beck said the whole cast has been delving into the comedy wholeheartedly.

“It’s been delightful to watch ... not only the two main characters, but the other characters throw themselves into it,” she said.

Some of those characters onstage are new to the guild, which has seen an influx of new talent the past couple of years.

“I think having new folks freshens up the show and freshens up the old actors, too,” Beck said.

Board Chair Patti Gatto said the attraction for newcomers may be due – in part – to the lighter seasons they’ve planned. This season’s four shows are heavily comedic, with the exception of the classic “Come Back, Little Sheba.”

The guild fills out the season with “Moonlight & Magnolias” and “Farndale Christmas Carol.”

“We just had so much fun last year with our Christmas show that we threw that one in there,” Gatto said.

Tickets for the season are on sale.