“Brighton Beach Memoirs”- Three Notch Theatre Review

Spring has officially sprung. Flowers are blooming, birds are chirping, and the theatre is just as exciting as ever!

The Newtowne Players are currently in performances of Brighton Beach Memoirs– a tale of a 1930’s New York Jewish family struggling to make ends meet and keep their wits about them. This show runs March 29-April 14, 2019.

“Dreaming of baseball and girls, Eugene must cope with the mundane existence of his family life in Brooklyn; formidable mother, overworked father, and his worldly older brother Stanley. Throw into the mix his widowed Aunt Blanche and her two young (but rapidly aging) daughters and you have a recipe for hilarity.
Here is part one of Simon’s autobiographical trilogy: a portrait of the writer as a young teen in 1937 living with his family in a crowded, lower middle-class Brooklyn walk-up. 
The bittersweet memoir evocatively captures the life of a struggling Jewish household where, as his father states “if you didn’t have a problem, you wouldn’t be living here.” ”

SYNOPSIS FROM: https://www.newtowneplayers.org

After Stanley (Luke Rowe) tells his father Jack (Randy Tusing) about his lost job, the two enjoy a teachable moment where Jack can explain that what Stanley has done is wrong but still show pride in him sticking to his principles. (Photo by Rachael Leissner)
Older brother Stanley Jerome (Luke Rowe) tells Eugene (Grady Heveron) about losing his job, how it happened and why. (Photo by Rachael Leissner)

Brighton Beach Memoirs tells the story of Eugene (played by Grady Heveron), a young boy growing up with a blended family of his parents and brother, his widowed aunt and two girl cousins. Eugene has to grow up fast when hard times hit his family, while going through puberty at the same time!

Sixteen-year-old Nora (played by Sarah Pollard) comes in like a whirlwind with a desire to be a Broadway star, which forces her mother Blanche (played by Aubrey Joyce) to make a tough choice- let her daughter go for her dreams or wait for her to get a high school diploma first? Little sister Laurie (played by Sara Brock) gets special attention from the adults due to the flutters in her heart, so the other children have to pick up the slack for her.

Stanley (played by Luke Rowe) is the older brother who works very hard to provide for his family, but when faced with some tough decisions on what is right and wrong, he is forced to make choices that would not only affect himself, but his entire family, which puts a lot of pressure on this young man.

Kate and Jack (played by Jeanne Louise and Randy Tusing) are the parental figures of the household, who struggle to keep food on their table while giving the children whatever they can. This causes a strain on their marriage and on their health.

Kate Jerome (Jeanne Louise, behind) has a moment of sisterly concern for sister Blanche (Aubrey Joyce, foreground) who has been hard at work sewing. (Photo by Rachael Leissner)
Before taking his own seat at the dinner table, Eugene Jerome (Grady
Heveron) takes a moment to set the scene for the audience. (Photo by Rachael Leissner)

Director Christopher Joyce and assistant director Kenneth Faison have created an incredible production with perfect casting. There are no weak links in this cast- everyone is well suited to their role. Each actor knew the sweet spots of their characters- getting the audience to laugh while also tugging on their heartstrings and bringing tears to their eyes. Seeing the actors onstage have REAL emotion was amazing!

The set and lighting were very creative as well- I don’t want to spoil it, but the way the scenes switch from the dining room area to the bedrooms is very cool!

I definitely felt the passion behind this production and highly recommend EVERYONE go see this excellent production!

The show runs March 29-April 14, 2019 (Thursdays-Saturdays at 8 PM and Sundays at 3:30 PM). Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for students/seniors (65+)/military and $10 for children 12 and under. If you go on a Thursday, tickets are $10 for EVERYONE!

If you are interested in buying tickets and/or finding out more information, go to https://www.newtowneplayers.org/tickets.html!

Let me know in the comments below what you think of the show!

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