Brighton Beach Memoirs



  • A comedy by Neil Simon that was based on his own youth in New York City. It was first performed on Broadway in 1983 at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre, which Simon owned; the play became one of his most successful transfers to London, being seen at the National Theatre in 1986 and transferring the same year to the Aldwych Theatre.

    The story, set in Brooklyn in 1937, concerns a poor but respectableJewish family. The 14-year-old son, Eugene Jerome, is a budding writerwho is discovering sex with advice from his big brother Stanley. Theirfather, Jack, has to hold down two jobs at once to support both hisown family and his widowed sister-in-law Blanche and her daughtersNora and Laurie. He finally has a minor heart attack. Stanley narrowlyescapes being fired for his principles and then loses a week's wagesin a game of poker. His father forgives him and promises to teachhim the game. Nora has been offered a Broadway audition, but whenher mother insists that she attend college instead she reluctantlyagrees. Next comes good and bad news: the family's Polish cousinshave escaped the Nazis, but all seven will be moving into the housein a week's time.

    Eugene's story was continued in Simon's Biloxi Blues (1985) and Broadway Bound (1986).