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Encyclopedia > Lost in Yonkers
Image used on the Playbill for Lost in Yonkers
Image used on the Playbill for Lost in Yonkers

Lost in Yonkers is a play by Neil Simon that opened on Broadway in 1991. Like many of his other plays, it draws on Simon's childhood growing up in New York City. Critics believe, however, that it is not as autobiographical as some of his other works, including Brighton Beach Memoirs and Biloxi Blues. Image File history File links Yonkers-cover. ... Neil Simon (1966) Neil Simon (born Marvin Simon July 4, 1927 in The Bronx, New York City), is an American playwright and screenwriter. ... Broadway theatre[1] is often considered the highest professional form of theatre in the United States. ... 1991 (MCMXCI) was a common year starting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Nickname: Big Apple, Gotham Location in the state of New York Coordinates: Country United States State New York Boroughs The Bronx Brooklyn Manhattan Queens Staten Island Settled 1613  - Mayor Michael Bloomberg (R) Area    - City 1,214. ... Brighton Beach Memoirs is a semi-autobiographical coming-of-age comedy by Neil Simon. ... Biloxi Blues, a play by Neil Simon, is the second in what is known as Simons Eugene Trilogy, the first being Brighton Beach Memoirs, and the third being Broadway Bound. ...


An immense critical success, Lost in Yonkers was the first of Simon's plays to win the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. The Pulitzer Prize for Drama was first awarded in 1918. ...


Plot

 Set during World War II, the story is about two young brothers, Jay and Arty, who are left by their desperate father in Yonkers, New York so that he can travel the country in order to pay off debts he owes. Jay and Arty are placed in the hands of their Grandma Kurnitz, a severe, frightfully intimidating immigrant woman who terrified her surviving children into the shells that they ultimately became. Uncle Louie is a small time, tough talking gangster who is on the run. Aunt Bella is sweet and mothering, but dying to escape her mother's overbearing household for a life and family of her own. As Jay and Arty learn to live with their terrible grandmother as well as get to know their uncle and aunts, they ultimately come into their own. 

Location in the State of New York Coordinates: Country United States State New York County Westchester Founded 1646 Incorporated 1872 Mayor Philip A. Amicone Area    - City 52. ...

The production

The original Broadway cast included Kevin Spacey (Uncle Louie), Mercedes Ruehl (Aunt Bella) and Irene Worth (Grandma Kurnitz); all three of whom were awarded the Tony for their roles. It opened on February 21, 1991. Kevin Spacey (born Kevin Spacey Fowler[1] on July 26, 1959) is a two-time Academy Award winning American actor (film and stage) and director. ... Mercedes Ruehl Mercedes Ruehl (born February 28, 1948) is an Academy Award-winning United States theater and film actress of Cuban and Irish descent. ... Irene Worth on her recital disc Her Infinite Variety Irene Worth, Honorary CBE, (born Harriet Elizabeth Abrams June 23, 1916 in Fairbury, Nebraska - died March 9, 2002 in New York) was a distinguished stage and screen actress who became one of the leading stars of the English and American theatre. ... What is popularly called the Tony Award (formally, the Antoinette Perry Award for Excellence in Theatre) is an annual award celebrating achievements in live American theater, including musical theater, primarily honoring productions on Broadway in New York. ...


In 1993, Neil Simon adapted his play into a feature film starring Richard Dreyfuss as Uncle Louie; Mercedes Ruehl and Irene Worth reprised their respective Broadway roles. 1993 (MCMXCIII) was a common year starting on Friday of the Gregorian calendar and marked the Beginning of the International Decade to Combat Racism and Racial Discrimination (1993-2003). ... Neil Simon (1966) Neil Simon (born Marvin Simon July 4, 1927 in The Bronx, New York City), is an American playwright and screenwriter. ... A reel of film, which predates digital cinematography. ... Dreyfuss in The Goodbye Girl Richard Stephen Dreyfuss (born October 29, 1947) is an Oscar-winning American actor. ... Mercedes Ruehl Mercedes Ruehl (born February 28, 1948) is an Academy Award-winning United States theater and film actress of Cuban and Irish descent. ... Irene Worth on her recital disc Her Infinite Variety Irene Worth, Honorary CBE, (born Harriet Elizabeth Abrams June 23, 1916 in Fairbury, Nebraska - died March 9, 2002 in New York) was a distinguished stage and screen actress who became one of the leading stars of the English and American theatre. ...


External links


  Results from FactBites:
 
ALAN DALE | What We Do Best: American Movie Comedies of the 1990s (6762 words)
In Lost in Yonkers Simon has elaborated the intriguingly unpleasant elements of Brighton Beach Memoirs and Broadway Bound --the mother’s almost supernatural detection of a purloined cookie in the former, for instance--into a family power struggle at once claustrophobic and grand, familiar and yet with a stylized literary compression you wouldn’t expect from him.
In Lost in Yonkers Simon may think Momma is a round character because the exposition explains her ungivingness, but for me she works because of the way Simon has exaggerated her in fairy-tale terms, an effect enhanced by the movie’s director, Martha Coolidge.
Thus, Lost in Yonkers has a lot in common with the 1927 Al Jolson movie version of The Jazz Singer, which melodramatizes the transition in values from the older to the younger generation, represented by the Orthodox cantor-father who disowns the son who’d rather sing jazz in nightclubs.
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