Cromer replaces the previously announced Daniel Sullivan, according to Variety. No reason for the change in directors was given.
The Simon plays, which will be produced by Emanuel Azenberg and Ira Pittelman, will play in repertory. Rehearsals are scheduled to begin in summer 2009 with a fall opening on Broadway; Brighton Beach Memoirs will likely be the first of the two plays to open. No casting has been announced.
As previously reported, Cromer's production of Our Town, a hit in Chicago, will arrive at the Barrow Street Theatre Off-Broadway later this season.
The coming-of-age Neil Simon comedies Brighton Beach Memoirs and Broadway Bound share the same set, a middle class Brooklyn home inspired by Simon's childhood home.
The critically acclaimed plays (Brighton Beach is set in 1937 and Broadway Bound in the late 1940s) will allow audiences to see the richness of the personal evolution of Simon's alter ego Eugene Morris Jerome. The rueful comedies also show the breakup of the character's family over the years, and the sadness and loneliness that envelopes his mother, Kate. Linda Lavin won the Best Actress Tony Award for playing the part in Broadway Bound; Elizabeth Franz created the role in Brighton Beach and was also Tony-nominated. According to a recent casting notice, two actors (rather than one) are now being sought to play Eugene — a younger Eugene for Brighton Beach Memoirs and an older Eugene for Broadway Bound. Matthew Broderick created the role on Broadway in 1983 and won a Tony as Best Featured Actor in a Play. Jonathan Silverman was Eugene in 1986, opposite Lavin.
There is a "middle" play, Biloxi Blues (1985), that shows Eugene meeting the wider world as he serves in the Army during World War II. It won the Tony Award for Best Play. Gene Saks directed all three original productions. Broadway Bound was a nominee for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.