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February 4, 2002
Contact: Rick Walters @ (608) 796?3793 or


LA CROSSE, Wis. — Rick Walters, chair and assistant professor of theatre arts, is about to make his directing debut at Viterbo University with the Black Box Theatre production of Neil Simon’s Brighton Beach Memoir, Feb. 21-25.

The story is based on Simon’s early adolescence or, as Time Magazine said, the play is "Neil Simon’s love letter to the past."  It is told from the point of view of 15-year-old Eugene Jerome. Eugene takes the audience through a week of his life in Brooklyn with a houseful of relatives. He is a typical adolescent who loves baseball, writing, and girls. Among the hilarious situations and one-liners that make the play one of Simon’s funniest, the play also explores the problems of a Jewish family living in New York. Focusing on the overcrowdedness of the Jerome’s Brooklyn home in 1937, the play includes Eugene’s parents who work, worry, and meddle in everyone else’s lives. Eugene, as far as everyone else is concerned, has recently become a bit too fascinated with the opposite sex, with much of his attention fixated on his cousin, Nora Morton, a would-be Broadway dancer. Eugene’s older brother works at a blue-collar job and has run up a gambling debt. And, his widowed aunt is considering a romance with the Irishman across the street. In Simon’s semi-autobiographical story, Eugene is an aspiring teen writer with only two things on his mind—baseball and girls. The comedic trials and tribulations of growing up in his crowded Jewish household show off Simon at his best.

According to Walters, "Viterbo's production of Brighton Beach Memoirs is set in a two-story house that offers an intimate look at the lives of these characters. The audience will feel as if they’re right at home in the Jerome living room."

Brighton Beach Memoirs was written in 1983 by comedy playwright and screenwriter Neil Simon. It was the first play in his famous trilogy, which also includes Biloxi Blues and Broadway Bound. The three plays are an account of Simon’s stormy childhood, Army days, and show business entry. One of Simon’s many Broadway hits, Brighton Beach Memoirs received the 1983 New York Drama Critics Award. Simon has also received four Tony Awards, two Emmys, a Golden Globe, and a Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

Tickets for Brighton Beach Memoirs are $9. Contact the Viterbo Box Office at 608-796-3100 or email boxoffice@viterbo.eduto order tickets.


Jaime Adler Marshfield Sophomore Arts Administration Assistant Costumer
Kate Bohn Seymour Junior Technical Theatre Assistant Set Designer
Mike DeLine La Farge Sophomore Theatre Design & Arts Administration Assistant Costumer
Adam Erdmann Evansville Sophomore Technical Theatre & Arts Administration Stage Manager
Jeramy Felch Marinette Junior Theatre Performance "Stanley"
Jill Giudice Sparta Junior Music Theatre "Nora"
Deanna Hilleman Richland Center Sophomore Theatre Props Master
Chris Kockler Zion, Ill. Junior Technical Theatre Master Electrician
Luke Kritzeck Mora, Minn. Junior Arts Administration Lighting Designer
Emily Mark Woodbury, Minn. Junior Theatre Performance "Kate"
John Brian McCarthy Wauwatosa  Sophomore Technical Theatre & Arts Administration Assistant Stage Manager
Trapper McLean Cut Bank, Mont. Freshman Theatre Performance "Eugene"
Phil Nelson Woodstock, Ill. Senior Theatre-- Directing Assistant Director
Kacy Schmitt Greenville, SC Sophomore Theatre Performance "Laurie"
Corey Sorenson La Crosse Junior Theatre Arts "Jack"
Jennifer Spridco DeForest Junior Theatre Education Makeup/Hair Design
Nadia Wahhab Greendale Senior Music Theatre "Blanche"
David Warren Wisconsin Dells Sophomore Music Theatre Sound Designer
Sarah Zinn Westby Sopomore Technical Theatre Board Operator

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