The Neil Simon Plays: cast announced for 'Brighton Beach Memoirs' and 'Broadway Bound'

Producers Emanuel Azenberg and Ira Pittelman have announced casting for The Neil Simon Plays � new productions of two of Neil Simon�s most successful works, Brighton Beach Memoirs and Broadway Bound, directed by David Cromer, which will be performed in repertory at a theatre to be announced

Brighton Beach Memoirs begins previews on 2 Oct 2009 and opens on 25 Oct 2009. Broadway Bound begins previews on 18 Nov 2009 and opens 10 Dec 2009.

Beginning with previews for Broadway Bound, The Neil Simon Plays will be performed in repertory on a varied schedule.

Tickets will go on sale in Aug 2009.

The semi-autobiographical �Eugene Jerome� plays Brighton Beach Memoirs and Broadway Bound were two of the longest running Broadway plays of the 1980s. Both plays ushered in a new era of appreciation for Neil Simon, with praise for the playwright�s hilarious and poignant account of his adolescence, early career and family life in New York in the 1930s and 1940s.

Brighton Beach Memoirs originally opened on 27 Mar 1983 at the Alvin Theatre and played for 1,299 performances. (During the run of Brighton Beach Memoirs, the Alvin Theatre was renamed The Neil Simon Theatre). Broadway Bound opened on 4 Dec 1986 at the Broadhurst Theatre, where it played for 756 performances.

Brighton Beach Memoirs centers on young Jewish teen Eugene Morris Jerome and his extended family living in a crowded home in the Brighton Beach section of Brooklyn in 1937: his overworked father, Jack; overbearing mother, Kate; his older brother Stanley; Kate�s widowed sister Blanche and her daughters, Nora and Laurie. As Eugene spends his time daydreaming about a baseball career, he must also cope with his family�s troubles, his awkward discovery of the opposite sex and his developing identity as a writer.

In Broadway Bound, it�s the late 1940s. Eugene and his older brother Stanley have started their careers as professional comedy writers, but at home in Brighton Beach, their parents� marriage is falling apart. When the brothers use these troubles as inspiration for a radio comedy skit, the Jerome family may never be the same.

Brighton Beach Memoirs will star Laurie Metcalf (Kate Jerome), Dennis Boutsikaris (Jack Jerome), Santino Fontana (Stanley Jerome), Noah Robbins (Eugene Jerome), Jessica Hecht (Blanche) and Alexandra Socha (Nora). The role of 'Laurie' is still to be cast.

Broadway Bound will star Laurie Metcalf (Kate Jerome), Dennis Boutsikaris (Jack Jerome), Santino Fontana (Stanley Jerome), Josh Grisetti (Eugene Jerome), Jessica Hecht (Blanche) and Allan Miller (Ben).

The creative team for The Neil Simon Plays features Scenic design by John Lee Beatty, costume design by Jane Greenwood and lighting design by Brian MacDevitt.

Neil Simon�s career spans a remarkable six decades in theatre, film and television. He is the winner of three Tony Awards, a Pulitzer Prize and the Mark Twain Award for American Humor and was awarded a Kennedy Center Honor in 1995. Some of his plays for the theatre include 'Barefoot in the Park,' 'The Odd Couple,' 'Plaza Suite,' 'The Last of the Red Hot Lovers,' 'The Prisoner of Second Avenue,' 'The Sunshine Boys,' 'California Suite,' 'Chapter Two,' 'Lost in Yonkers,' 'Laughter on the 23rd Floor,' 'The Dinner Party,' the Eugene Trilogy of 'Brighton Beach Memoirs,' 'Biloxi Blues' and 'Broadway Bound,' and the books for the musicals for 'Little Me,' 'Sweet Charity,' 'Promises Promises,' 'They�re Playing Our Song' and 'The Goodbye Girl.'

Brighton Beach Memoirs and Broadway Bound will mark director David Cromer's Broadway debut. The chicago based director helmed the off-Broadway production of the musical 'Adding Machine,' which played to critical acclaim at the Minetta Lane Theatre from 9 Feb - 20 Jul 2008, and he is currently represented off-Broadway with the Chicago production of Thornton Wilder's 'Our Town' playing at the Barrow Street Theatre.

Laurie Metcalf (Kate Jerome) last appeared on Broadway when she starred oppsite Nathan Lane in Mamet's 'November' (2007) for which she was nominated for a Tony for Best Performance By a Featured Actress, she made her Broadway debut in 'My Thing Of Love' (1995). Metcalf is best known for her performance as 'Jackie Harris' in TV's 'Roseanne', for which she won three Emmy Awards; she was also nominated for an Emmy for her guest appearances as 'Carolyn Bigsby' in TV's 'Desperate Housewives'.

Dennis Boutsikaris� (Jack Jerome) Broadway credits include 'Amadeus,' (Mozart - replacement: 1980) 'Filumena' (Umbert: 1980 revival) and Bent (Rudy - replacement: 1979 revival), and Obie Award-winning roles Off-Broadway in 'Sight Unseen' and 'Nest of the Woodgrouse,' as well as 'That Championship Season,' 'The Boys Next Door' and 'A Picasso.'

Santino Fontana (Stanley Jerome) has appeared on Broadway in 'Sunday in the Park with George' (multiple role: 2008 revival) at Roundabout Theatre Company, Off-Broadway as Matt in The Fantasticks and currently plays 'Tony 'in the Broadway production of 'Billy Elliot The Musical.'

Josh Grisetti (Eugene Jerome in Broadway Bound), will be making his Broadway debut. He recently received Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk, Drama League and Lucille Lortel nominations and a Theatre World Award for his role as 'David Kolowitz' in the Off- Broadway production of 'Enter Laughing' at York Theatre Company.

Jessica Hecht (Blanche) has appeared on Broadway in Julius Caesar (Portia: 2005 revival), 'After The Fall' (Louise: 2004 revival) and 'The Last Night of Ballyhoo' (Lala Levy: 1997) and is also had a recurring role in the TV show 'Friends.'

Allan Miller (Ben) last appeared in 'Brooklyn Boy' (Manny Weiss: 2005) at Manhattan Theatre Club�s Biltmore Theatre.

Noah Robbins, (Eugene Jerome in Brighton Beach Memoirs) will be making his Broadway debut. He has appeared in several shows at the Kennedy Center and as 'Max Bialystock' in his high school�s production of 'The Producers.'

Alexandra Socha (Nora) made her Broadway debut as 'Wendla' in 'Spring Awakening' (2006).