You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Broadway to revive Neil Simon comedies

'Brighton,' 'Bound' to play in same theater

Preparations are under way for Rialto revivals of Neil Simon semi-autobiographical comedies “Brighton Beach Memoirs” and “Broadway Bound,” to play in rep at the same theater next season.

According to producer Emanuel Azenberg, auditions will be held next month to find an actor to play the central character of both plays: Eugene, a young writer whose story is based on Simon’s life. The search will focus on finding a thesp suitable to play teen Eugene in “Brighton”; it has not yet been decided whether the same actor will play the character — who is about 10 years older in “Broadway” — in both shows.

Both plays were popular hits in their original Rialto runs in the 1980s, and seem like a solid bet in a risky economic climate that encourages producers to lean toward pre-established crowd-pleasers and well-known brands. Azenberg, a longtime producer of Simon’s work, will produce the revivals with Ira Pittelman (“The Odd Couple,” “Spring Awakening”).

Taken together, the plots of “Brighton” (set in 1937) and “Broadway” (set in the late 1940s) follow Eugene from his upbringing in Brooklyn to his career as a scribe. Both take place in the protag’s family home, a fact that allows them to play in rep on the same stage.

Matthew Broderick played Eugene in the 1983 preem of “Brighton,” while Jonathan Silverman portrayed the character in “Broadway” in 1986. Azenbergproduced both those runs.

Thesp alums of the original productions also include Linda Lavin, Jason Alexander, Zeljko Ivanek and Elizabeth Franz. “To the extent we can duplicate the cast, we will do it,” Azenberg said.

“Brighton” and “Broadway” are the first and third parts of a Simon trilogy that also includes “Biloxi Blues,” which bowed on the Rialto in 1985 in a production in which Broderick again starred as Eugene. Gene Saks originally helmed “Brighton,” “Biloxi” and “Broadway.”

“Brighton” was adapted into a feature in 1986, and “Broadway” into a telepic in 1992.

For the new revivals, Azenberg has targeted an opening of fall 2009 after a rehearsal period in late summer and early fall. Exact venue remains to be determined.

More Legit

  • Bryan Cranston First Time in Variety

    Bryan Cranston on His Early Roles, Dealing With Rejection and His 'Erasable Mind'

    Following his 2014 Tony Award for best actor as President Lyndon B. Johnson in Robert Schenkkan’s play “All the Way,” Bryan Cranston is looking to add to his trophy collection this year with his performance as Howard Beale in “Network.” The deranged anchorman — who’s famously “mad as hell and not going to take this [...]

  • Ink Play West End London

    Wary Theater Rivalry Between London and New York Gives Way to a Boom in Crossovers

    Give or take a little tectonic shift, the distance between London and New York still stands at 3,465 miles. Arguably, though, the two theater capitals have never been closer. It’s not just the nine productions playing in duplicate in both locations — believed to be the most ever — with three more expected in the [...]

  • Alex Brightman Beetlejuice Broadway

    How Alex Brightman Brought a Pansexual Beetlejuice to Life on Broadway

    Alex Brightman gives the deadliest performance on Broadway — in a good way — in “Beetlejuice.” The big-budget musical adaptation of the 1988 film directed by Tim Burton has scored eight Tony nominations, including best actor. To play the frisky role, Brightman (“School of Rock”) dons Beetlejuice’s striped suit and an assortment of colorful wigs [...]

  • Santino Fontana Tootsie Broadway Illustration

    'Tootsie' Star Santino Fontana on the Challenges of His Tony-Nominated Dual Role

    Santino Fontana is doing double duty on Broadway this year. The “Tootsie” star scored his second Tony Award nomination this month for his hilarious portrayal of struggling actor Michael Dorsey and Dorothy Michaels, the female persona that Dorsey assumes to win a role in a play. The musical, based on the 1982 comedy starring Dustin [...]

  • Dear Evan Hansen

    Broadway Cast Albums Find Fresh Footing With Hip New Sounds, Viral Outreach

    Mixtapes. YouTube videos. Dedicated playlists. Ancillary products. Viral marketing. Epic chart stays. These are things you expect to hear from a record label discussing Cardi B or Beyoncé. Instead, this is the new world of a very old staple, the Broadway original cast recording. Robust stats tell the tale: Atlantic’s “Hamilton” album beat the record [...]

  • Ali Stroker Oklahoma

    Ali Stroker on 'Oklahoma!': 'This Show Doesn’t Follow the Rules and That Is So Who I Am'

    Ali Stroker is no stranger to rewriting history. With her 2015 Broadway debut in “Spring Awakening,” she became the first actor in a wheelchair to perform on the Great White Way. Three years later, she’s back onstage in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Oklahoma!” as Ado Annie, the flirtatious local who splits her affections between a resident [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content