Brighton Beach Memoirs and Broadway Bound Will Be Paired for Broadway Run

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03 Nov 2008

Matthew Broderick in <I>Brighton Beach Memoirs</i> in 1983.
Matthew Broderick in Brighton Beach Memoirs in 1983.

Producer Emanuel Azenberg's longtime hope of putting Neil Simon's related plays Brighton Beach Memoirs and Broadway Bound in repertory is expected to become a reality next season on Broadway.

According to an Equity casting notice, Azenberg, a longtime producer of Simon's plays, is aiming for a fall 2009 launch of the coming-of-age comedies, which share the same set, a middle class Brooklyn home inspired by Simon's childhood home.

The critically acclaimed plays (set in 1937 and the late 1940s, respectively) would be presented in rotating rep, allowing 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.

One actor is being sought to play Eugene, at age 15 and roughly 25. 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.

According to a casting notice, Eugene "is an aspiring writer and an accomplished storyteller. In Brighton he is struggling through adolescence to be seen as an individual. His world revolves around his family life and his writing. In Broadway Bound he is faced with cutting the apron strings and striking out on his own as a professional writer."

A director and production details will be announced at a later date. A later summer/early fall 2009 rehearsal period is planned.