The Group Rep at the Lonny Chapman Theatre has a long and noble history of presenting truly outstanding performances and their latest offering of Neil Simon’s multi-award winning comedic drama Lost in Yonkers continues that grand tradition with gusto.
It begins with two teenaged brothers in the living room at their grandmother’s home in Yonkers. The tension is hypnotic because they have no idea why their father arranged this meeting with their grandmother who is well known within their family as a somewhat mean curmudgeon. Both the tension and the comedic element soars as dad keeps slipping back and forth between grandma’s room and the living room.
Gradually other characters get involved including a sweet but clearly challenged Aunt Bella and eventually even Uncle Louie, who seems to be mob connected. As the characters interrelate the comedic value and the drama keep on getting stronger. Finally we learn that this entire meeting with Grandma is an attempt get her to take in the two teen boys while dad goes across the country on a new job that requires travel but will also give dad enough money to resolve a large debt from a loan shark.
The eventual resolution will likely surprise you as it concurrently warms your heart. Lost in Yonkers is a perfect blend of comedy and drama splendidly brought to life by a true five-star cast.
“The best play Simon ever wrote” according to the New York Post. Since I have never read all of Neil Simon’s work nor have seen all of it on stage I can’t confirm their position but I won’t disagree. This is an extremely well-constructed theatrical piece brought to life by a richly talented cast that is directed by Larry Eisenberg and produced for the Group Rep by Doug Haverty.
I have been blessed with an opportunity see and review literally hundreds, maybe even thousands of plays from Broadway to London’s West End and throughout Los Angeles from the largest to the smallest venues and I have never seen any other theatrical group with a consistent and lasting history of presenting great shows. So yes absolutely I recommend this latest offering of Neil Simon’s Lost in Yonkers but you might also want to consider becoming a subscriber because I am positive you will not be disappointed.
Lost in Yonkers is at the Lonny Chapman Theatres, 10900 Burbank Boulevard, North Hollywood, California now through October 22nd. Show times are Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. and Sundays at 2:00 p.m. Ticketing and reservations are available at www.thegroup reo.com or by calling 818-763-5990.
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Photos by Doug Engalla Top photo: Bennett Saltzman, Brent Anthony and Loraine Shields
Ron Irwin was born in Chicago, Illinois a long time ago. He served in the Marine Corps in Vietnam, became a trial lawyer, TV and radio host, CEO of a public company and once held an Emmy. He never won an Emmy he just held one. Ron has written and published twelve books. His most important book to date is “Live, Die, Live Again” in which Ron tells of his early life and his unexpected and very temporary death in 2012. That experience dramatically refocused his life and within the pages of that book Ron reveals how he achieved a much healthier life, ridding himself of Diabetes, Cancer and Heart Failure. Now Ron enjoys writing about many things including health topics, travel [he has circled the globe several times], adventure, culinary experiences and the world of performing art. Ron’s motto is “Live better, live longer and live stronger because it feels great and annoys others.” Contact the author.