BY GEORGE J. DACRE
Neil Simon says through his characters in “Broadway Bound” that comedy must have an essence of conflict. The latest show at Elmwood Playhouse displays ample evidence of that show biz truism.
There is a lot of conflict within this Jewish family, comprised of two young brother would-be writers, a grumpy grandfather, a father who has an affair with another woman, and his wife who is a “typical Jewish mother.”
Staged in the Jerome house, Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, 1949, the play centers on brothers Eugene (Brendan O’Brien) and Stan (Jordan Adelson) who have a shot at a radio show if they can come up with a funny sketch. They try hard amongst a series of family issues, including a desire by his daughter Blanche (Samantha Carpel) to convince Grandpa Ben (Arthur Chill; who puts in a tremendous performance) to move to Miami, Florida and Jack’s (Derek Tarson) fling with a woman he met and saw just once. The mother Kate (Debbie Buchsbaum, also tremendous) can forgive anything except for her husband taking an interest in another woman.
Simon’s thoughts on what families in Brighton Beach experience is evident in the dialogue and there are lots of laughs amid the pathos that comedy writers endure. A special part of “Broadway Bound” is a radio broadcast of the brothers’ comic sketch that turns out to be based on the Jerome family and their foibles.
Kudos to O’Brien and Adelson for really professional performances with O’Brien narrating to the audience. The entire production is expertly directed by Kathy Gnazzo and is intriguing theatre. I rate “Broadway Bound” at Elmwood Playhouse in Nyack Three Out of Four Stars!!!
It runs weekends through October 17. Tickets and information at 845-353-1313 or www.elmwoodplayhouse.com.