This weekend is the last opportunity to see LOST IN YONKERS, the Tony and Pulitzer Prize winning Neil Simon play directed by Keith Paul at the Warner Theatre’s Nancy Marine Studio Stage in Torrington, CT.
Taking place in 1942, the story revolves around a flawed family of which the matriarch is the stern Grandma Kurnitz who receives her two grandchildren, the boys Jay and Arty, when her “ne’er do-well son Eddie departs for work. There at the house, Jay and Arty also confront their aunt Bella, a challenged woman in her thirties, their aunt Gert, a woman with a breathing disorder brought on by the stress of being the daughter of Grandma Kurnitz, and their uncle Louie, a small time hoodlum.
The set perfectly captures the essence of life in a home in this New York Borough. The special details from the paintings on the wall to the simple couch accentuate the familial elements of what’s known as a “memory play”, a term coined by Tennessee Williams to mean a play that allows for a certain freedom from convention.
As a director who’s no stranger to the Nancy Marine Studio Stage, Keith Paul loves the black box theater venue and it should be noted that many of his superb productions including Evil Dead: The Musical and Reefer Madness were among his notable contributions to this particular stage. With Lost in Yonkers, Paul has crafted a moving portrayal of a family of people who are all broken in some way.
“The actors have been working so hard on this production. Turning in some mighty fine performances,” says Paul, extolling the virtues of the show. “Also it’s very exciting to have some new original music recorded by Mr. Preston Parish.”Musician Preston Parish who is known for his “gypsy jazz guitar” and Milltown Swing provides an additional layer to the production.
Many of Nutmeg Chatter’s friends have seen the production and to a person, everyone has considered the performance of Holly Martin as Bella to be a standout performance. Calling her work “amazing” and “thoroughly convincing”, Martin’s Bella holds emotional weight that is deeply moving.
The cast includes James Hyland as Eddie, the brother who had previously escaped the family dynamic but is now thrust back as he’s forced due to circumstances beyond his control to leave his children at Grandma Kurnitz’s house. The boys, Jay and Artie are performed by Michael Rooney and Colby Morkan. The stern matriarch, Grandma Kurnitz is performed by Karen Parent. Louie, the small time gangster is performed by Eric Hammer, and Aunt Gert is Beverly Delventhal-Sal.
I will be enjoying the production tonight and will share my full review tomorrow morning!
Categories: Torrington Stories