The Elgin Theatre Company wraps up its season with Neil Simon’s classic “Brighton Beach Memoirs.”
The first of the playwright’s unofficial autobiographical trilogy, which was followed by “Biloxi Blues” and “Broadway Bound,” runs June 13 to 29 at the Kimball Street Theater. Performances are at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and at 2 p.m. Sundays. It is directed by Chris Warren.
Set in 1937, the coming-of-age comedy focuses on Simon’s alter-ego Eugene Jerome, a 15-year-old Polish-Jewish boy who has big dreams about baseball and girls in the Brighton Beach section of Brooklyn, N.Y.
It’s a slice of life in a struggling, cash-strapped household that includes his older brother, Stanley; his parents, Kate and Jack; and Kate’s widowed sister Blanche and her two daughters, Nora and Laurie.
“It’s in the pre-war years, and World War II is looming in the background. As a Jewish family, they’re dealing with the specter of their extended family being in trouble in Europe, accompanied by his father’s health troubles and his brother’s financial difficulty,” Warren said. “It’s a tumultuous time, both in the world and the family.”
Warren was thrilled to get the directing nod.
“’Brighton’ has always been one of my favorite plays. I think it’s one of Neil Simon’s finest works, and he’s written a lot of good stuff,” he said. “The play itself is very funny; it’s very warm and touching. And it focuses on a very interesting period of history. The shadow of World War II is kind of looming over the extended family in the background and it’s on people’s minds.”
The play is rated PG-13.
“Brighton Beach Memoirs” premiered on Broadway in 1983 and closed in 1986 after 1,299 performances. Matthew Broderick starred as Eugene Jerome, for which he won a Tony Award and a Drama Desk Award. A 2009 Broadway revival tanked. The play was adapted into a movie in 1986 starring Jonathan Silverman in the role of Eugene.Tags: theatre