Grisetti, Robbins, Boutsikaris and Fontana Will Join Metcalf in "Neil Simon Plays"

News   Grisetti, Robbins, Boutsikaris and Fontana Will Join Metcalf in "Neil Simon Plays"
Casting for the new fall Broadway productions of Neil Simon's related coming-of-age comedies Brighton Beach Memoirs and Broadway Bound, to play in rep, will feature rising young actors Noah Robbins and Josh Grisetti in the role of Simon's alter ego, Eugene Morris Jerome, producers Emanuel Azenberg and Ira Pittelman announced May 27.

Josh Grisetti
Josh Grisetti

Under the umbrella of "The Neil Simon Plays," directed by acclaimed director David Cromer (Adding Machine, Our Town), the cast (to eventually perform the plays in rotating rep on the same set at a theatre to be announced), will also feature the previously mentioned Laurie Metcalf (TV's "Roseanne," Broadway's November) as Kate Jerome, plus Billy Elliot's Santino Fontana as big brother Stanley Jerome.

Grisetti, who will be making his Broadway debut as the twentysomething Eugene in Broadway Bound, recently received Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk, Drama League and Lucille Lortel nominations and a Theatre World Award for his role as David Kolowitz in Enter Laughing at York Theatre Company.

Noah Robbins, who will be making his Broadway debut as the teen-age Eugene in Brighton Beach Memoirs, is a senior at Georgetown Day School in Washington, DC, and has appeared in several shows at the Kennedy Center and as Max Bialystock in his high school's production of The Producers.

Brighton Beach Memoirs will begin previews on Oct. 2 and open on Oct. 25. Broadway Bound begins previews on Nov. 18 and opens Dec. 10. Beginning with previews for Broadway Bound, "The Neil Simon Plays" will be performed in repertory on a varied schedule.

"The Neil Simon Plays" will also star Dennis Boutsikaris (Off-Broadway's Sight Unseen) as Jack Jerome, Jessica Hecht (The Last Night of Ballyhoo, Julius Caesar) as Blanche and Allan Miller (Broadway's Brooklyn Boy) as grandpa Ben in Broadway Bound, and Alexandra Socha (Spring Awakening) as Nora in Brighton Beach Memoirs. Casting for the role of Laurie in Brighton Beach Memoirs will be announced soon. Scenic design is by John Lee Beatty, costume design is by Jane Greenwood and lighting design is by Brian MacDevitt. Tickets will go on sale in August. Rehearsals will begin in New York on Aug. 24.

According to the producers, Brighton Beach Memoirs "centers on young Jewish teen Eugene Morris Jerome and his extended family living in a crowded home in the Brighton Beach section of Brooklyn in 1937: his overworked father, Jack; overbearing mother, Kate; his older brother Stanley; Kate's widowed sister Blanche and her daughters, Nora and Laurie. As Eugene spends his time daydreaming about a baseball career, he must also cope with his family's troubles, his awkward discovery of the opposite sex and his developing identity as a writer."

In Broadway Bound, "it's the late 1940s. Eugene and his older brother Stanley have started their careers as professional comedy writers, but at home in Brighton Beach, their parents' marriage is falling apart. When the brothers use these troubles as inspiration for a radio comedy skit, the Jerome family may never be the same."

They plays are beloved by audiences, who got a glimpse at Simon's (fictionalized) homelife in the poignant comedies. A "middle" play, Biloxi Blues told of Eugene's adventures in the Army in World War II.

Brighton Beach originally opened on March 27, 1983, at the Alvin Theatre and played for 1,299 performances. (During the run, the Alvin Theatre was renamed The Neil Simon Theatre.) Broadway Bound opened on Dec. 4, 1986, at the Broadhurst Theatre, where it played for 756 performances.

Simon is the winner of three Tony Awards, a Pulitzer Prize and the Mark Twain Award for American Humor and was awarded a Kennedy Center Honor in 1995. Some of his plays include Barefoot in the Park, The Odd Couple, Plaza Suite, The Last of the Red Hot Lovers, The Prisoner of Second Avenue, The Sunshine Boys, California Suite, Chapter Two, Lost in Yonkers, Laughter on the 23rd Floor, The Dinner Party and the books for the musicals for Little Me, Sweet Charity, Promises Promises, They're Playing Our Song and The Goodbye Girl.

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