Mercedes Ruehl to Make London Stage Debut in Neil Simon's Prisoner of Second Avenue

News   Mercedes Ruehl to Make London Stage Debut in Neil Simon's Prisoner of Second Avenue
Tony and Oscar-winning actress Mercedes Ruehl will join the previously announced Jeff Goldblum to make her London stage debut in a new West End production of Neil Simon's The Prisoner of Second Avenue.

Mercedes Ruehl
Mercedes Ruehl Photo by Aubrey Reuben

It will begin performances June 30, prior to an official opening July 13, at the Vaudeville Theatre, where it is being produced by the Old Vic Theatre Company/Old Vic productions plc and Sonia Friedman Productions. It is directed by Terry Johnson, currently represented on Broadway by his Tony-nominated production of La Cage aux Folles.

In a press statement, Old Vic artistic director Kevin Spacey commented, "We're really excited to introduce one of Broadway's greatest stars to London audiences. Mercedes and I played brother and sister in Neil Simon's Lost in Yonkers back in 1991, so it’s great to get to welcome her to The Old Vic family. She is a wonderful actress and she and Jeff are a great pairing. They are dedicated and hard working disciples of the art of stagecraft."

Ruehl adds, "I have wanted to work on the London stage for many years, but never dreamed I'd have the good luck to land there in the company of two old friends, Neil Simon and Kevin Spacey. In the early nineties we three collaborated on the Pulitzer Prize winning Lost in Yonkers, and it is a joy to reunite with these lions, if not in winter, in the early autumn of our lives. (Make that late summer.) As for Jeff Goldblum, he is one of the few American actors who is both an extraordinary screen actor and a true animal of the stage. Also, he is a very funny man; I can tell from the cell phone messages he's been leaving me."

Ruehl began her career on in regional repertoire theatre in the U.S, appearing in plays by Shakespeare, Moliere, Shaw, Chekhov and Euripides, and she went on to receive Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle and the Helen Hayes Awards for her role in the original New York production of Neil Simon's Lost in Yonkers in 1991, later reprising her role in the film. Other Broadway credits include The American Plan, The Goat or Who Is Sylvia (Outer Critics Circle Award, Tony nomination), The Rose Tattoo, Shadowbox (Tony nomination) and I’m Not Rappaport. Off-Broadway credits include The Occupant, Woman Before A Glass (Obie Award), Other Peoples' Money (Clarence Derwent Award), The Marriage of Bette and Boo (Obie Award), Coming of Age In Soho and The Vagina Monologues. Film credits include an Oscar-winning appearance in "The Fisher King" as well as roles in "Married to the Mob," "Warriors," "Big," "Heartburn," "Slaves of New York," "Another You," "Last Action Hero," "Lost in Yonkers," "What’s Cooking," "The Amati Girls," "For Rosanna" and "The Minus Man." TV credits include "Indictment: The McMartin Trial," HBO's "Gia," Hallmark's "The Lost Child," Court T.V.'s "Guilt by Association," and Showtime's "North Shore Fish," and CBS' "Loving Leah" as well as the Lifetime television films "Mom At Sixteen" and "A Girl Like Me." She has also had recurring roles on "Frasier" and HBO's "Entourage."

Set in the 1970's, The Prisoner of Second Avenue is a black comedy depicting a New York couple, Mel (Goldblum) and Edna Edison (Ruehl), enduring the trials and tribulations of city life. Mel is made redundant and the stress of an economic crisis and urban life pushes him into having a nervous breakdown. The family gathers to offer support, with Edna stoically bearing the burden of his disintegration and self-pity. The play premiered on Broadway in 1971 where it starred Peter Falk and Lee Grant. It was subsequently made into a film in 1975, starring Jack Lemon and Anne Bancroft. It was last seen in the West End in 1999 at the Theatre Royal Haymarket in a production that starred Richard Dreyfus and Marsha Mason.

It is booking through Sept. 11. To book tickets, contact the box office on 0844 412 4663, or visit

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