Neil Simon, the author of Lost in Yonkers, is one of America’s most prolific playwrights. He has written thirty plays and as many movie scripts, most of them based on his plays. He was a comedy writer for Sid Caesar’s Your Show of Shows. The current production of Lost in Yonkers playing at Barrington Stage through August 1 exemplifies Simon’s observation, “…how sad and funny life is.” When it played on Broadway, Lost in Yonkers won both the Tony and the Pulitzer Prize for that year. Bob and I saw it on Broadway and enjoyed it greatly. However, we don’t remember being as moved as we were by this production. In a theatre like the main stage at Barrington Stage, one is closer to the action and can fully appreciate all the nuances the actors bring to their parts.
Central to the play are the two brothers through whom the audience experience most of the play. In many ways, they reflect the experiences Simon and his brother had when they were growing and were often sent to live with relatives. We were fortunate to interview Matt Gumley who plays 15 year old Jay and Jake Giordano who plays 13 year old Arty. They were as charming off stage as they were on stage. This a production of a wonderful play that shouldn’t be missed. You will laugh but you will also feel deeply for those people whose lives unfold before you on stage.