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'Broadway Bound' directed by Jason Alexander does Neil Simon Proud

Gina Hecht, & Betsy Zajko trying to reason with their unreasonable father, Alan Miller
Gina Hecht, & Betsy Zajko trying to reason with their unreasonable father, Alan Miller
Photos by Enci

'Broadway Bound' written by Neil Simon and directed by Jason Alexander

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By Joan Alperin-Schwartz

There are certain plays, films, songs that never get old...They hold up against 'time'...Personally, I've seen 'Lawrence of Arabia', at least 25 times, and whenever Sinatra comes on the radio singing 'New York, New York' I stop and listen. Neil Simon's plays fall into that category....They are simply timeless.

'Broadway Bound' directed by Jason Alexander is no exception. Yes, it may be 'old fashion' but that's not necessarily a bad thing.

In fact, thanks to a great cast, and an excellent production at the Odyssey Theatre, it's a very good thing.

'Broadway Bound is Simon's the final play in his semi-autobiographical trilogy, that includes, 'Brighton Beach Memoirs' and 'Biloxi Blues'.

The play ran on Broadway for nearly two years and made the cover of Time magazine, which proclaimed it...'Neil Simon's' Best Play. It was also finalist for the 1987 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the recipient of multiple Tony and Drama Desk Award nominations.

The year is 1949 and we are once again in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, home to the dysfunctional Jerome family.

Kate Jerome, played by the wonderful, Gina Hecht, is dealing with the break-up of her 40 year marriage to husband, Jack (Michael Mantell)

She is a woman in great emotional pain and the only thing that brings her any joy, are her two sons, Eugene (Ian Alda) and Stanley (Noah James) who are aspiring comedy writers.

The other member of the household include Kate's socialist father, Ben (Allan Miller) who has his own marriage problems. His wife left him and is living in Florida, the last place on earth he'd ever want to live.

Adding to the mix, is Kate's wealthy sister, Blanche (Betsy Zajko) whose lifestyle, left-wing Ben abhors. If that's not bad enough, Kate goes out of her way to make her sibling feel unwelcome whenever she drops by.

'Broadway Bound' is a play about family and about memories. It's about the dreams of two young men, wanting desperately to create a different life for themselves, in a place far, far away from Brighton Beach.

Yes, some of the over-the-top inter-actions don't always work, but the play is funny, touching, and bittersweet.

There is a beautiful scene, where Kate dances with her son and we see her completely transported to a time in her life, when she too had dreams. That scene alone, is worth the price of admission.

'Broadway Bound' plays Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m.

Additional weeknight performances are scheduled on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on August 20th and September 10th, as well as Thursdays at 8 p.m. on August 14, September 4 and September 18th.

The play closes Sunday, September 21st.

Ticket Prices: $30.00 There will be two pay-what-you-can (minimum $10) performances on Thursday, August 14 and Wednesday, September 10th.

To Order: Call 310-477-2955 or go to www.OdysseyTheatre.com.

The Odyssey Theatre is located at 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., West Los Angeles 90025.