April 7, 2011
Curtain rising on K-State theatre's production of Neil Simon's 'Brighton Beach Memoirs'
The award-winning play "Brighton Beach Memoirs," Neil Simon's modern comedy about a teenager coming of age in Brooklyn during the late 1930s, will be presented by the Kansas State University theatre program at 7:30 p.m. April 21-24 and April 27-30 in Nichols Theater.
"Brighton Beach Memoirs" is the first play in Simon's semiautobiographical trilogy, also known as the Eugene trilogy. It portrays the playwright as the teenager Eugene Morris Jerome, who lives with his family of seven in an overly crowded, lower middle-class home in Brooklyn. Eugene is a young boy full of dreams about baseball and pretty girls. As the main character and narrator of the play, he reflects on the struggles of his overworked father, compassionate mother, conflicted older brother and widowed aunt and her two daughters. It's a story of duty, responsibility, coming of age and ultimately, the connection of a Jewish family as they struggle through the end of the Great Depression in New York.
"Brighton Beach Memoirs" is the forerunner to "Biloxi Blues" and "Broadway Bound," the second and third plays in the Simon trilogy. These stories follow the character Eugene to basic training to his career as a comedy writer. Simon received the 1983 New York Drama Critics Circle Award for "Brighton Beach Memoirs" and the 1985 Tony Award for "Biloxi Blues."
K-State's production of "Brighton Beach Memoirs" is directed by Dwight Tolar, instructor of theater. Tolar describes the play as a bittersweet memoir evocatively capturing the life of a struggling Jewish household.
Costume design for the production is by Dana Pinkston, associate professor of theater; scenic design is by Kathy Voecks, assistant professor and resident scenic designer; and lighting design is by John Uthoff, associate professor of theater.
Tickets are $14 for the general public, $12 for seniors and military, and $9 for students. They can be purchased at the McCain Auditorium box office from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. or by calling McCain at 785-532-6428 during box office hours. Tickets also may be purchased at the Little Theater box office in the K-State Student Union from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday through Friday. Groups of 10 or more may receive a discount rate. For more information or assistance in planning a theater party, contact Marci Maullar at 785-532-6878.
K-State students in the cast or crew for "Brighton Beach Memoirs" include:
Sarah Unruh, senior in theater, Greensburg, as Blanche; Adam Rack, junior in theater, Hays, as Stanley; Chelsey Eimer, senior in theater and mass communications, Manhattan, sound design; Olivia Sieck, sophomore in theater, Overland Park, as Laurie; Erica Smith, senior in theater, Paola, as Kate; Joseph Boos, freshman in theater, Salina, as Eugene; and Kyle Myers, junior in theater, Topeka, as Jack Jerome.
From out of state: Sarah Quaranta, senior in theater, Denver, Colo., as Nora.