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Neil Simon's 'Brighton Beach Memoirs' May 6 To 15

Coming-of-age comedy adds cheer to Depression-era New York

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May 3, 2011 | by Judy Moore
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Mary Poole

EVANSTON, Ill. --- A country in the midst of the Great Depression and on the brink of World War II seems an unlikely setting for a comedy, but “Brighton Beach Memoirs,” Neil Simon’s heartwarming exploration of the unifying power of family and first loves, continues to draw laughs with its timeless humor.

The beloved American classic by the Tony Award-winning playwright will conclude the Theatre and Interpretation Center (TIC) at Northwestern University’s 30th anniversary season. 

Directed by School of Communication faculty member Mary Poole, public performances will take place at 8 p.m. Friday, May 6; 8 p.m. Saturday, May 7; 2 p.m. Sunday, May 8; 8 p.m. Thursday, May 12; 8 p.m. Friday, May 13; 8 p.m. Saturday, May 14; and 2 p.m. Sunday, May 15, at the Josephine Louis Theater, 20 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston campus. Post-show discussions with the creative team and Northwestern student cast members will follow the May 8 matinee and May 12 evening performances.

In this coming-of-age comedy, hard working New Yorkers Jack and Kate Jermone must think about every dollar they spend, while their 14-year-old son Eugene bemoans another serving of liver and dreams of glory as a baseball player.

For those seeking a brief escape from family problems or daily news reports of foul weather, crime and international unrest, Simon’s comedy is guaranteed to amuse. 

“It’s important to have comedies right now,” said director Mary Poole, a senior lecturer in Northwestern’s theatre department and a Chicago artist. “It’s a wonderful journey into an American family that reminds us that we can examine serious issues in our lives and the world without being angst-ridden.”

“Brighton Beach Memoirs” will feature seven Northwestern undergraduate student cast members. Graduate students William Boles and Courtney O’Neill co-designed the 1937-era set and Sally Dolembo designed the costumes. The lighting designer is Becca Jeffords. Professional Chicago artist Nick Keenan designed the sound.

The two-act production runs two hours and 15 minutes, and has a 15-minute intermission.

Single tickets are $25 for the general public; $22 for seniors and Northwestern faculty and staff and area educators and administrators; and $10 for full-time students with IDs. Group tickets also are available. Tickets can be purchased through the TIC Box Office at (847) 491-7282 or www.tic.northwestern.edu.

Topics: Campus Life