Prince George’s Little Theatre will present Neil Simon’s “Brighton Beach Memoirs” weekends at the Bowie Playhouse at White Marsh August 29 – September 13. Friday and Saturday performances are at 8 p.m. The August 31 and September 7 matinees are at 2 pm. Tickets are $20 ($15 for seniors and those 18 and under). For more information, check the PGLT website (pglt.org) or call 301-937-7458.
Set in 1937 Brooklyn, Simon’s semi-autobiographical play contains many funny and tender moments as seen through the eyes of the fifteen year-old Eugene, who narrates the events over one tumultuous week in the lives of his Jewish family. Eugene (Casey Baum) keeps a detailed journal of his family’s eccentricities – the memoirs of the title. Eugene is a baseball fanatic, aspiring writer, and has just discovered girls.
His extended family includes Stanley (Mike Culhone), his worldly older brother, as well as his parents, aunt, and two cousins. Jack Jerome (Steve Feder) is the hard-working father whom everyone consults when they have a problem, while his mother Kate (Nora Zanger) is strong-willed and opinionated but loving. Her widowed younger sister Blanche (Jill Goodrich) doesn’t quite know how to make a life of her own for her two daughters. Blanche’s elder daughter, Nora (Sophia Speciale), is a beautiful and ambitious sixteen year old with dreams of Broadway. Pampered because she has heart problems, Laurie (Annalie Ellis), the youngest at thirteen, has a mischievous streak hidden by a studious exterior.
The play depicts a whirling, crowded daily life as close-packed relatives keep getting under each other’s feet. The family struggles with the economic realities of the Depression and the conflicts that each character faces. As the father says, “If you didn’t have a problem, you wouldn’t live in this house!” The play nevertheless sparkles with the humor and witty lines that are Simon’s forte, and in the end the impression is of shared love and laughter.
The play premiered on Broadway in 1983, running 1,299 performances and winning two Tony awards. It was made into a movie in 1986 and had a Broadway revival in 2009. “Brighton Beach Memoirs” is one of the most popular works of Simon, often called “the richest playwright in the world” because of his long list of comedic hits.
This production is directed by Ken Kienas and produced by Jenna Jones Paradis.
PGLT’s season will continue with the comedy-mystery “A Shot in the Dark” January 9-24 and a fast-paced farce “Suite Surrender” May 1-16
Groups of ten or more members can purchase tickets for $13 a ticket, a $7 savings over the standard ticket price. Payments must be received in advance. Group sales are not available as an “at the door” purchase. Regular-priced tickets can be purchased in advance at pglt.org, by calling (301) 937-7458, or at the box office prior to each performance if tickets are remaining.