Move over, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest! William Galligan and Christian Dolan have taken on the task of directing Neil Simon’s Brighton Beach Memoirs, this year’s senior directed play. The show is free, and tickets can be pre-ordered on the Belmont Hill website. The play is showing at the Kraft Theatre on Friday, February 26th, at 7 pm, as well as the following Saturday, February 27th, also at 4 pm.
Written by Neil Simon, the play takes place in the Brighton Beach, a section of Brooklyn, in September of 1937, just before the WWII. The play follows the young Eugene Morris Jerome (Henry Vettel, Form IV), a Jewish kid who has recently discovered girls and is obsessed with baseball. Also on his mind is his hardworking family: his father, Jack Jerome (Steven DeVellis, Form VI), works two jobs, and his 18-year-old brother, Stanley Jerome (Brendan Pulsifer, Form VI) is forced to take up a job in a factory. This bittersweet account of family life beautifully captures a struggling Jewish household, as well as the tight family bonds that hold the characters close together. The play opened on Broadway in 1983, and has won multiple Tony Awards for best actor, actress, and directing.
Senior directed plays provide an unrivaled experience of working together, and Brighton Beach Memoirs is no exception. “It’s a very different experience working with a peer as a director,” says Brendan Pulsifer, who plays Stan. “It’s much more collaborative and relaxed, but just as intense and fun.” The cast has put in countless hours perfecting one of America’s greatest stories, and there is no real reason not to go to one, if not both of the performances. As Henry Vettel, Eugene Jerome in this production, put it, “It is going to be good.”