Coming of Age in the Depression

Brighton Beach Memoirsjust folded on Broadway after a one-week run, despite glowing reviews from the New York Times, the New Yorker, and every other big publication. It seems ticket sales were “appalling,” which is somehow appropriate for a semi-autobiographical Neil Simon play set in 1937. That year, the economy fell back into the dumper after a period of recovery. Amid the 14 percent unemployment of the time, we join the Jerome family in Brighton Beach, a working-class section of New York. The 14-year-old son, Eugene, is coming of age with all the attendant excitements: he wants to be a baseball player or a writer; he’s starting to like girls; and he looks up to his brother, who gives him the scoop on wet dreams. Eugene’s hormones are boiling at the same time that his family is being buffeted by misfortune. But Brighton Beach Memoirs is full of steely Americans who deal in wit and one-liners. So there’s not much that’s depressing about this comedy set in the Depression. What Broadway lost to low sales, South Florida is gaining at the Lake Worth Playhouse (713 Lake Avenue, Lake Worth) when the play opens tonight at 8 and runs through December 13. Tickets cost $25 to $36. Call 561-586-6410, or visit lakeworthplayhouse.org.
Fri., Nov. 20, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, Sundays; Thursdays-Sundays. Starts: Nov. 20. Continues through Dec. 13, 2009

 
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