L to R: Eugene (Lior Lapid) and Ben (Joe Denk)
L to R: Kate (Susan Smith), Eugene (Lior Lapid), Blanche (Megan Richardson) and Ben (Joe Denk)
Jack (David Edwards) and Kate (Susan Smith), with Stanley (Eric Young) asleep in the bed on the upper level.
L to R: Jack (David Edwards), Stanley (Eric Young), Mrs. Pitkin (Christa Popovich), Ben (Joe Denk), Kate (Susan Smith). Eugene (Lior Lapid) and Chubby Waters (Christopher Rippel)
Oct 25-Nov 11, 2002
Give my regards to 'Broadway'
- By Cheryl Thornburg, Las Cruces Sun News [ Friday, Oct. 25, SUN NEWS C-3 ]
In the past 12 years I have seen plays that made me laugh and made me cry -- that made me think or forget about reality. And there have been some rare ones that made me feel. "Broadway Bound" does all of that and more.
Director Ceil Herman and an incredible cast take the audience back to the 1940s when two brothers are on the verge of breaking into successful careers as comedy writers.
The play, Neil Simon's "Broadway Bound," is part of an autobiographical trilogy which includes "Brighton Beach Memoirs" and "Biloxi Blues," and is the best of the three. This is not warm-and-fuzzy Simon like "Barefoot in the Park," but a play full of complex characters with complicated lives and relationships.
Underneath the wittly laugh-producing script is palpable tension, pain and nostalgia. But Simon's neatest trick is making you care deeply about these characters -- even the least likable of the bunch -- the father.
Played with sensitivity and resolve by David Edwards, Jack Jerome comes across as man who is hurting his family, and regrets it, but continues to go his own way.
Edwards' performance is just one of many outstanding ones in this production. At the heart of it all is Eugene (the Neil Simon character) -- and Lior Lapid puts so much heart into his portrayal that you feel his confusion, disappointment and anticipation right along with him. His interaction with other family members is the key to the play, and he has some accomplished veteran actors that make the scenes so believable, audience members feel like it they're eavesdropping on private conversations in the living room of the Brighton Beach home.
Susan Smith's Kate will remind many people of female relatives -- the stalwart homemaker devoted to her husband and family, with seemingly no life outside the walls of the family home. The rapport between Smith and Lapid in the mother/son scenes generates such warmth that their connection seems natural and very real.
Eric Young takes his acting to a new level as Stanley, Eugene's older brother -- described at one point as a Jewish Cary Grant.
Young's clean-cut good looks and dazzling smile are perfect for the role, but it is his comedic timing and ability to tap into a range of emotions that make his performance. His scenes when he vents his anger at his father are particularly strong.
As always, Joe Denk steals many scenes as Ben, Eugene's Trotskyite grandfather, whose confused and forgetful ramblings belie his underlying understanding and compassion for his family.
Rounding out the family circle is Megan Richardson as Aunt Blanche, the wealthy daughter whose efforts to help her father are met with disdain. Again the tension between Denk and Richardson is very believable.
Rachel Evans, Christa Popovich, Christopher Rippel and Daniel Ritchie, round out the cast as radio entertainers.
Herman has placed these jewels of actors in a spectacular setting -- the most elaborate set ever at the Black Box Theatre. Designed by larrychandler, the set recreates the essence of a middle class home of the era. Add to that the costumes by Meredith Loring and effective lighting design by Peter Herman, and you have the most complete theater package that No Strings Theatre Company has ever offered to area theater lovers. It's one of the best I've seen in my reviewing career and one, I will see again before its run ends Nov. 10. Take your friends, your parents, even your older children to this one. It's theater at its best.
No seating plan has been posted.