Loading...

Lost in Yonkers 

Thursday, Aug 14 2008
Comments
Thirty years and 25 hits after his first comedy opened on Broadway, Neil Simon won his first Pulitzer prize in 1991 for this darkest of his plays. Set against the financial hardships of World War II, six family members must depend on help from one of the most frightening figures of that era — the bitter, immigrant grandmother. Grandma Kurnitz (Nan Tepper) holds her progeny fiscally and emotionally hostage to her rage against life. Most vulnerable are her minimally retarded daughter, Bella (Maria Spassoff), who lives only to take care of her mother; and grandsons, Jay (Zav Hershfield) and Art (Bridger Sadina), who are stuck in the house while their father travels to pay off a mob debt. While Simon's signature jokes find there way into this serious situation (mostly through the mouths of the boys), the tone is far from his usual fare. Fortunately for this production, the two youngsters are remarkably fine in their roles — none of the old jokes about working with children rings true with these disciplined performers: Both display bright senses of humor and heartbreakingly convincing characterizations. Director Howard Teichman fares just as well with the rest of the perfectly cast ensemble, who all commit fully to the world they have created. Teichman is also to be lauded for an extremely crisp and well-paced production that honors Simon’s comic moments without losing the intensity of the family melodrama. Jeff G. Rack's simple set and Christine Cover-Ferro's well-reserached costumes serve the production beautifully without calling undue attention to themselves.
Mondays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, Sundays, 2 p.m. Starts: July 25. Continues through Aug. 28, 2008

Related Stories

  • Wilson's Writer

    It takes a certain kind of personality to write biographies for a living, delving into the nitty-gritty of strangers' lives, unraveling mysteries and angering relatives. A. Scott Berg has been quite successful in that line of work, winning a National Book Award for his biography of literary editor Max Perkins...
  • Arianna Huffington

    @ All Saints' Episcopal Church
  • Review: Rajiv Joseph's Gruesome Playground Injuries

    "I am big. It's the pictures that got small," Norma Desmond says in Sunset Boulevard. There's a discernible condescension in a number of reviews of Rajiv Joseph's 2011 play, Gruesome Playground Injuries, in its early productions. Mainly these reviews keep comparing it to Joseph's "bigger" play, Bengal Tiger at the...
  • The Sunshine Boys and The End of It, Two Plays About Rocky Marriages

    At the beginning of Paul Coates' new play, The End of It, currently playing at the Matrix Theatre, a long-married heterosexual couple living in Los Angeles, Joanna and Drew (Kelly Coffield Park and Coates), are recovering from a party they've just thrown. As any number of sociologists and dramatists from
  • Climb on the Peace Chain

    If you've been past the Santa Monica Convention Center anytime in, oh, the last several decades, you've seen Chain Reaction, the monumental sculpture of a mushroom cloud constructed of metal chains. The work is by Paul Conrad, better known as the Pulitzer Prize–winning chief editorial cartoonist of the Los Angeles...

Related Content

Now Trending