Neil Simon’s Brighton Beach Memoirs

June 30, 2014 by Anonymous

SNOWFLAKE — Cast auditions for Northland Pioneer College’s fall performances of Neil Simon’s autobiographical Brighton Beach Memoirs will be Tuesday and Thursday, Aug. 12 and 14, from 6 to 9 p.m., on the main stage of the Performing Arts Center on the Snowflake – Silver Creek Campus, 1611 S. Main St.There are roles for three men and four women. “The play will provide student actors the chance to develop their comedic and dramatic skills due to how the play blends its tone,” noted director Dr. Michael Solomonson. Those auditioning should come prepared with a one-minute comedic or dramatic monologue of your choice. Cold readings from the script will also be part of the audition.

“We also have behind-the-scenes roles, including stage manager, light and sound board operators and technical theatre positions to help with set building, props, etc.,” continued Solomonson. “We will need dinner theatre wait staff for three of the five November performances.

Brighton Beach Memoirs will be presented as dinner theatre performances on Nov. 7, 8 and 13. Show-only performances will be Nov. 14 and 15.

Neil Simon
Neil Simon

The website Onstage describes the play as “part one” of Neil Simon’s autobiographical trilogy, which includes Biloxi Blues and Broadway Bound, a portrait of the playwright as a Brooklyn teenager in 1937, living with his family in crowded, lower middle-class circumstances. Eugene, the young Simon, is the narrator and central character. His mind is full of fiercely fantasized dreams of baseball and dimly fantasized images of girls.

The play captures a few days in the life of a struggling Jewish household that includes Eugene’s hard-working father, his sharp-tongued mother, his older and vastly more experienced brother, his widowed aunt and her two young daughters. As Eugene’s father says, “If you didn’t have a problem, you wouldn’t live in this house.” It is a deeply appealing play that deftly mixes drama with comedy.

American playwright and screenwriter Neil Simon is widely regarded as one of the most successful, prolific and performed playwrights in the world. Simon has been nominated for more Tony and Academy Awards than any other writer and was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for Lost In Yonkers. He received Emmy Awards for The Sid Caesar Show and The Phil Silvers Show.

Of Simon, actor Jack Lemmon said, “Neil has the ability to write characters — even the leading characters that we’re supposed to root for — that are absolutely flawed.  They have foibles.  They have faults. But, they are human beings.  They are not all bad or all good; they are people we know.”

Questions about the auditions or fall 2014 performing arts classes can be directed to Performing Arts Department Chair Dr. Mike Solomonson at 536-6217.

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