Brighton Beach Memoirs Hits The River Campus

Apr 28, 2014

Brighton Beach Memoirs will hit the River Campus this week as the famous Neil Simon play will be performed in the Wendy Kurka Rust Flexible Theatre.

The show will open on April 30th at 7:30 p.m. and will also be performed at the same time on May 3rd. The May 4th presentation will be at 2 p.m.

Southeast Missouri State University professor Kenneth Stilson is directing Brighton Beach Memoirs and said he is expecting a huge crowd for the show. Stilson said the play is funny, heart-warming and touches all the emotional hot spots.

“You will laugh out loud and yet five minutes later you’ll probably have a tear in your eye, it’s that kind of play,” said Stilson. “I would encourage everybody to get their ticket early on this one because it’s going to be very popular and it’s already selling very well.”

The comedy is one of Neil Simon’s most popular plays and is semi-autobiographical. It tells the story of a Jewish family in 1937 in Brighton Beach, a community in Brooklyn in New York. It’s told from the point of view of Eugene Jerome, the youngest boy of the family.  

“It’s a play about growing up,” explained Stilson.

The fact that Eugene’s family is Jewish is a major component of the play as it takes place when the world was getting ready to go to war for the second time, but Stilson said it is also about going through adolescence and making new discoveries.

Stilson added that the play and its characters still resonate today and that it is one that students as well as their parents can really identify with.

“You know these people, and the things that they are going through so you can really identify with this family,” he said.

This show will be an original telling of Neil’s Simon’s script and will involve seven student actors on stage. Tickets for Brighton Beach Memoirs are $15, and $3 for students with a SEMO I.D.