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MailTribune.com
  • 'Lost in Yonkers' at Camelot Theatre

    Neil Simon's comedy is from the heart
  • Comic playwright Neil Simon's memory play is told by 15-year-old Jay Kurnitz and his brother, Arty, who is two years younger. When their father, Eddie, is forced to take a job on the road, he decides to ask his stern and straight-talking mother if his sons can live with her in Yonkers.
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    • If you go
      What: "Lost in Yonkers"
      When: Previews Wednesday and Thursday, May 7-8, opens Friday, May 9, and runs through June 1
      Where: Camelot Theatre, 101 Talent Ave., Talent
      Tickets: Preview ticket...
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      If you go
      What: "Lost in Yonkers"

      When: Previews Wednesday and Thursday, May 7-8, opens Friday, May 9, and runs through June 1

      Where: Camelot Theatre, 101 Talent Ave., Talent

      Tickets: Preview tickets cost $12, others cost $25, $23 for seniors and students

      Call: 541-535-5250 or see www.camelottheatre.org
  • Comic playwright Neil Simon's memory play is told by 15-year-old Jay Kurnitz and his brother, Arty, who is two years younger. When their father, Eddie, is forced to take a job on the road, he decides to ask his stern and straight-talking mother if his sons can live with her in Yonkers.
    A steely Jewish refugee from Germany, Grandma Kurnitz lives above her candy store, but there's nothing sweet about her. That family deficit is countered by the boys' overly excitable Aunt Bella, a childlike woman in her mid-30s, who is described by Jay as "closed for repairs."
    Grandma Kurnitz reluctantly agrees after a threat from Bella, and the teens stay in Yonkers for most of 1942.
    In a vein similar to his Brighton Beach trilogy — "Brighton Beach Memoirs," "Biloxi Blues" and "Broadway Bound" — Simon's work in "Lost in Yonkers" is not as the king of one-liners but from the heart, with character, humanity and personal investment.
    The New York Post called it "the best play Simon ever wrote," and The Wall Street Journal wrote, "Broadway desperately needs a comedy, a drama and hit. With 'Lost in Yonkers,' Mr. Simon has given us all three."
    "Lost in Yonkers" was first presented in late 1990 at The Center for the Performing Arts in Winston-Salem, N.C. This production subsequently moved to Broadway, opening at the Richard Rogers Theater in New York.
    The Broadway hit starred Irene Worth, Mercedes Ruehl, Kevin Spacey and Mark Blum, and it earned Simon the Pulitzer Prize for drama and the Tony Award for best play in 1991.
    Camelot Theatre's production of "Lost in Yonkers" stars Kristie Abart as Grandma Kurnitz, Marlena Gray as Aunt Bella, Leo Pierotti as Arty Kurnitz, Reese Rush as Jay Kurnitz and Roy Von Rains Jr. as Uncle Louie, with A.J. Falk as Eddie Kurnitz and Kathleen Marrs as Aunt Gert. Susan E. Aversa directs.
    "Lost in Yonkers" previews Wednesday and Thursday, May 7-8, opens Friday, May 9, and runs through June 1 at Camelot Theatre, 101 Talent Ave., Talent. Curtain times are at 8 p.m., 2 p.m. on Sundays.
    The May 7 performance is a fundraiser for Hope Equestrian and tickets cost $25. Tickets for the the May 8 preview cost $12. A pay-what-you-can performance will be offered on Wednesday, May 14.
    All other tickets cost $25, $23 for seniors and students (except for Sunday matinees), and can be purchased at the box office, online at www.camelottheatre.org or by calling 541-535-5250. Box office hours are from noon to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and one hour before each performance.
    Aversa holds a master's degree from Southern Illinois University. She's also worked in marketing and public relations for the Oakland Symphony and other performing arts organizations.
    Camelot's production team for "Lost in Yonkers" includes sound designer Brian O'Connor, set designer Don Zastoupil and lighting designer Paul R. Jones. Costume design is by Addie Hall-Kester.
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