Preview: Brighton Beach Memoirs

Starting the 23rd of October, Brighton Beach Memoirs, a play by Neil Simon, will begin in the Parkside theatre. The play takes place in New York, in 1937. It’s a coming of age comedy centered around a Polish-Jewish teen named Eugene Morris Jerome and his life during this period of time. It faces the problems Eugene deals with everyday and the challenges that come with becoming an adolescent while trying to deal with the hard times his family and the world is going through. Brighton Beach Memoirs is the first in a trilogy of plays about Eugene Jerome, all which are said to be semi-autobiographical pieces about Neil Simon’s life.

Some of the supporting cast involve his older brother Stanley, his parents Kate and Jack, Kate’s sister Blanche, and her two daughters Nora and Laurie.

In this play, a war is just beginning, a holocaust is starting to rise, the United States is not only in a deep depression, but a recession, also…all of these things affect Eugene and his life. Even though the play is shrouded with these negative things, Neil Simon still manages to make the play humorous.

Brighton Beach Memoirs is one of Simon’s most critically acclaimed plays. It debuted in 1983 on Broadway, and still stays one of the most popular plays today. Some say the success is owed to the way Simon intertwines humor into the seriousness of the play.

To Dean Yohnk, the director here at Parkside, “It’s a really powerful play.” Just from reading the synopsis of the piece, one knows what Mr. Yohnk says is true. With everything going on now, the recession and holocausts in Darfur, “Even though it’s set in 1937, it relates to today.” It has a powerful meaning that affects everyone who sees it.

A fun fact about the play: the week it’s opening here at Parkside, it will also be opening on Broadway!

The prices for tickets are 15 dollars for general admission, 11 dollars for Seniors and Parkside Staff, and 7 dollars for students (ages 5-college). There is some adult language in the play. The show plays at 7:30 p.m. on the 23rd, 24th, 29th, 30th, and 31st of October. There is also a 10 a.m. show on the 23rd and a 2:00 p.m. show on the 25th. Be sure to go see it, I know I definitely will!

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