Sunny days ahead for 'Philadelphia' stars

It’s hard to rain on this parade, and you really couldn’t even if you tried, so brace yourself: The cast of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” descends upon The City this week to perform a rock opera.

Called “The Nightman Cometh,” the live show is an amalgamation of a 2008 episode of the same name, which finds the “Sunny” posse taking the stage in what, at the time, became one of the show’s most inventive offerings.

Think of the live tour as a post-modern burlesque maelstrom with homoerotic nuances and other outlandish comedy that doesn’t mind hitting below the belt. There’s singing, dancing and healthy doses of absurdity.

Series stars Danny DeVito, Charlie Day, Kaitlin Olson, Glenn Howerton and Rob McElhenney, who also created “Sunny” based on his experiences growing up in Philadelphia, are all on board for the multicity bonanza, which evolved from a rather simple gathering-cum test experiment in a venue in Los Angeles earlier this year.

“I think it’s funny,” McElhenney says. “Ultimately, it captures what we do on the show and puts us in front of a live audience. I think it translates really well. People like the idea of seeing one of their favorite shows live.”

He says that the gang performs the entire 2008 episode onstage. About midway through, the actual musical from that episode takes place and at that point, the characters begin to interact with the audience in character.

As for the series itself, season five launches this month and McElhenney is still determined to keep everything fresh.

“At the beginning of each season, we always ask ourselves, ‘What is it we’re not seeing on television?’” he says. “That’s our No. 1 goal.”

McElhenney et al have succeeded.

“Sunny” debuted in 2005 — a surprise spawn from the annals of television comedy ideas — and has steadily grown in popularity ever since. A much quirkier “Cheers” set in Philly, its dumbfounded characters manage to evoke, surprisingly, empathy and familiarity.

“We’re not necessarily trying to push any boundaries or try to shock people; just trying to do something that you’re not seeing anywhere else — on Fox, CBS, ABC and all the sitcoms,” McElhenney adds. “We try to take aspects of our culture and the human condition and put it up there on the screen and see if we can make people laugh at it.”

 

IF YOU GO

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia

Where: Nob Hill Masonic Center, 1111 California St., San Francisco
When: 8 p.m. today
Tickets: $29.50 to $49.50
Contact: www.livenation.com

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