Brighton Beach Will Play on Broadway, Minus Broadway Bound

News   Brighton Beach Will Play on Broadway, Minus Broadway Bound The planned double-bill of Brighton Beach Memoirs and Broadway Bound on Broadway in spring 2001 has been reduced to just Brighton Beach Memoirs, according to the Coconut Grove Playhouse, where the production will take root Feb. 6-March 11, 2001.
Neil Simon speaks at the gala at the Neil Simon Theatre, held in his honor June 26.
Neil Simon speaks at the gala at the Neil Simon Theatre, held in his honor June 26. (Photo by Photo by Aubrey Reuben)

The planned double-bill of Brighton Beach Memoirs and Broadway Bound on Broadway in spring 2001 has been reduced to just Brighton Beach Memoirs, according to the Coconut Grove Playhouse, where the production will take root Feb. 6-March 11, 2001.

Playwright Neil Simon and producer Emanuel Azenberg have decided not to do both plays (bookends in a Simon trilogy) in repertory on Broadway as previously planned, according to a statement from the Miami, FL, nonprofit theatre. A spokesperson for Azenberg confirmed the change.

*

The bookend plays in the fictional trilogy about the playwright's early life were originally announced as pre-Broadway vehicles for Linda Lavin, repeating her Tony Award-winning role as Kate Jerome, who is seen mothering an adolescent Simon figure and his twentysomething self in Brooklyn, NY in the late 1930s (in Brighton Beach) and late 1940s (in Broadway Bound).

The plays, which share one set, the Brighton Beach Jerome home, were said to move to Broadway after the Feb. 6-March 18, 2001, run. That run has been reduced by a week. Lavin has since signed to star in Charles Busch's The Tale of the Allergist's Wife this fall on Broadway. Zoe Wanamaker has been mentioned for Kate in Memoirs. A director has yet to be announced.

*

Audience favorites, the "B.B." plays have enjoyed a life in regional theatres, but Brighton Beach, a rare period piece for the author, didn't earn Simon a Best Play Tony Award nomination at the time. The trilogy's middle play, Biloxi Blues, about Eugene's maturing social conscience in the service during World War II, finally earned Simon not only a Best Play nom, but a win, in 1985. Broadway Bound was Best Play nommed, too, but lost to Fences.

Azenberg produced the Broadway runs of all three works.

Film versions were made of the first two plays, and Broadway Bound was made into a TV movie.

-- By Kenneth Jones