This nostalgic memory play takes us back to the summer of 1942: World War II is on, and Eddie, flat broke, leaves his sons with their grandmother while he struggles to pay off his debts. The two boys are left to contend with an ill-tempered Grandma, the sweet but damaged Aunt Bella, and Uncle Louie, a small-time hoodlum in a strange new world called Yonkers.
Production photos by Michael Brosilow.
Yonkers is deeply moving – and Neil Simon’s finest
May 12, 2014
By CHRIS JONES
The master farceurs of the English-language theater of the 20th century are aging. The beloved British scribe Alan Ayckbourn was 75 last month. Neil Simon is 86. These two men – cumulatively responsible for scores of plays and an incalculable number of uneasy laughs – do not have an obvious heir. Not one who can write plays like Lost in Yonkers, now on stage in a deeply moving production from the Northlight Theatre and one of the happy surprises of the spring season.
Lost in Yonkers justly won the Pulitzer Prize for drama, changed the way critics looked at Neil Simon, and probably reveals more about the playwright than any of the official biographies. I’ve long thought Lost in Yonkers, which is masterfully crafted, was far and away Simon’s best play. I hadn’t seen it in years before heading to Skokie on Friday night, where the young director Devon de Mayo is making an auspicious Northlight debut with a beautifully cast and toned production, carefully focused on characters in pain but nonetheless funny throughout.
Northlight mounts blistering revival of Neil Simon’s Lost in Yonkers
May 11, 2014
By HEDY WEISS
Speak the name Neil Simon to fervent champions of “cutting edge theater” and more often than not they will roll their eyes in the most dismissive way. They are the losers.
In fact, I would dare each and every one of them to make their way to Northlight Theatre, where director Devon de Mayo and her cast have created a gorgeous revival of Lost in Yonkers, Simon’s 1991 Pulitzer Prize-winning play. I bet few who make the effort will emerge from that theater unchanged by the experience in some profound way.
Yes, Simon has written a traditionally structured play about a family in distress. But it is a great beauty of a work that, on the edge of a dime, masterfully turns from the tragic to the comic in human nature while capturing all the absurdity that lies in between. Simon also brilliantly limns characters from three generations whose lives leave an indelible imprint on each other, and on us.
Northlight’s heartfelt Yonkers is wonderfully satisfying
May 14, 2014
By BARBARA VITELLO
In Lost in Yonkers, Neil Simon achieves that near-perfect balance of humor and pathos. The laughs are hearty and the emotion is genuine in this 1991 Pulitzer Prize-winning dramedy about two brothers sent by their widowed father to live with their steely, inaccessible grandmother.
Many consider it Simon’s best work. Northlight Theatre’s lovely, heartfelt revival makes it clear why.
Deftly staged by former Northlight education director Devon de Mayo (whose directing suggests a real understanding of Simon’s sensibility), the wonderfully satisfying revival boasts an impressive cast that is nothing short of superb. Shifting effortlessly (and credibly) between the comedic and the tragic, their performances are moving and fully realized.
Review: Lost in Yonkers/Northlight Theatre
May 12, 2014
By AARON HUNT
Director Devon de Mayo’s leads her cast through the minefields of this Pulitzer-winning piece. Simon’s wildly successful turn from comedic, commercial vehicles to self-exploration gave us a work that vomits out great personal pain, with only brief moments of the old chuckling Simon to save us before we fall too far, and this makes for exciting and hair-raising challenges for the players. Underneath the linear, episodic plot structure whirlpools of heart-disconnects swirl. The broad, sweeping character arcs that the writing demands can only be fashioned internally by artists who commit to the material. And in Northlight’s production we have that in spades.
The battle that determines the outcome of the war is fought between Ann Whitney’s Grandma and Linsey Page Morton’s Aunt Bella. The craft that equips them to plumb such dark and horrific places, and the artistic alchemy that allows us to go along for their ride, landing unscathed yet wiser, is not to be missed.
Lost in Yonkers could easily be set in today’s times
May 4, 2014
By CATEY SULLIVAN
Think of Neil Simon and odds are you’ll think of plays defined by one-liners, rapid-fire quips and light-hearted humor. But with Lost in Yonkers, the prolific writer (and one of only two living playwrights to have a Broadway theater named after him) goes far deeper than he did with such lighthearted hits as Barefoot in the Park and The Odd Couple.
Lost in Yonkers, winner of the 1991 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, doesn’t skimp on the wisecracks. But amid the banter and gags, Simon’s comedy offers deeply felt exploration of a family in trouble. And although it’s set in the summer of 1942, Lost in Yonkers still comes across as stinging and contemporary.
“The thing that jumped out at me right away about this play is how contemporary it feels,” says director Devon de Mayo, who helms the production of Lost in Yonkers opening in previews May 2 at Skokie’s Northlight Theatre. “The plot starts with this father who has gone into huge debt because of his wife’s medical bills. How current is that?”
Five great ways to celebrate Mother’s Day
May 6, 2014
By MYRNA PETLICKI
A funny family: Moms will love their families even more after spending time with the hilariously dysfunctional relatives in Neil Simon’s Lost in Yonkers at Northlight Theatre. Read more>
From Hair to Lost in Yonkers in a whirlwind few weeks
May 15, 2014
By CHRIS JONES
And the phones rang like crazy at Northlight Theatre, which unspooled a formidable Lost in Yonkers, reminding us that Neil Simon’s best work still is a bridge to proven excellence. Read more>
“It’s another hit for Northlight. Pulitzer Prize-Winning Lost In Yonkers is Must-See Theater.”
Make It Better – Anna Carlson
“Among the finest plays I’ve seen this year! Don’t miss it.”
ChicagoCritic.com – Tom Williams
“By far the best I have ever seen of this play … even better than the film version.”
Around the Town Chicago – Al Bresloff
“Linsey Page Morton can start clearing space on her mantle for the awards her performance as Bella should rightfully earn her.”
Chicagoland Theater Reviews – Dan Zeff
Anne is making her Northlight debut. She recently appeared in Lookingglass’s revival of Mary Zimmerman’s Metamorphoses (Jeff Nomination – Best Ensemble) as Aphrodite, a role she also played in the original production. Chicago credits include Smokefall (Goodman); The Real Thing, Holiday, and Man and Superman (Remy Bumppo); Summertime and The Idiot (Lookingglass); The Glamour House (Victory Gardens); and Oleanna (Chicago Dramatists). Regional credits include Metamorphoses at Hartford Stage, Missouri Repertory, Cincinnati Playhouse, and The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis; Mary Zimmerman’s The Secret in the Wings at Berkeley Rep, McCarter Theatre, and Seattle Rep; Side Man, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, and Hauptmann at Madison Repertory; and The Turn of the Screw at Illusion Theatre in Minneapolis.
Erik is happy to be returning to Northlight after The Commons of Pensacola and Lost in Yonkers. Select Chicago credits: Luna Gale (Goodman and Center Theatre Group, LA); The Good Book, Tartuffe, The Misanthrope, Proof (Jeff Nomination – Supporting Actor), The Comedy of Errors, The Mystery of Irma Vep (Jeff Nomination – Lead Actor), Titus Andronicus and Arcadia (Court); Eastland (Lookingglass); Hesperia (Writers); The Madness of King George III, The Taming of the Shrew, Macbeth and Edward II (Chicago Shakespeare); Honest, The Elephant Man and Huck Finn (Steppenwolf). He is a company member of Strawdog. Select regional credits: Kirk Douglas Theatre, Milwaukee Repertory. Film/TV: The Dark Knight, The Chicago Code, Boss, Betrayal, Chicago Fire and Chicago PD.
Timothy Edward Kane
Timothy Edward Kane is pleased to return to Northlight, having previously appeared in Faceless, Lost in Yonkers, The Miser and She Stoops to Conquer. Other Chicago credits include work with Court Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Writers Theatre, Rivendell, TimeLine, Goodman, Steppenwolf. Regional credits: The Mark Taper Forum, Notre Dame Shakespeare, Peninsula Players, and the Illinois Shakespeare Festival. TV: Chicago P.D. (NBC), Chicago Fire (NBC), and Empire (FOX). Awards: Jeff Award, AfterDark, Chicago Magazine. Mr. Kane is married to actress Kate Fry with whom he has two sons; he is an Assistant Professor of Theatre at Loyola University Chicago.
Linsey Page Morton
Linsey is happy to make her Northlight debut. Chicago credits include: The Iceman Cometh and Joan Dark presented at the Linz ’09 Festival in Austria (Goodman); The Dresser(Steppenwolf); A Streetcar Named Desire, Another Part of the Forest, Bus Stop (Jeff Award nomination), and Spite for Spite (Writers); and Hannah and Martin and The Crucible (TimeLine). Regionally, Linsey appeared as Lotty Wilson in Enchanted April at Milwaukee Rep. Last fall, she assistant directed TimeLine’s production of The Normal Heart directed by Nick Bowling. Film credits: Joshua, The Quiet, and Freudian Slip. She is a company member and casting director at Pine Box Theater Company. Linsey is a proud member of Actor’s Equity and SAG/AFTRA.
Alistair is delighted to make his first appearance with Northlight. He resides in Madison, Wisconsin, where he appeared in Forward Theater’s The Farnsworth Invention (Young Philo, Young Sarnoff), Children’s Theater of Madison’s And Then They Came for Me (Ed), and Benjamin Brittan’s Turn Of The Screw (Miles) with Madison Opera. Alistair has appeared as soloist with the City of Hong Kong Chamber Orchestra, Portland Colombia Symphony, and Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra. Film credits includeFor the Glory, Into the Wake, The Mourning Hour, The Half of Me That’s Him, and Blame.
Sebastian W. Weigman
Sebastian is a junior in Wisconsin’s online school, eAchieve Academy. He has appeared as Skunk in Mole Hill Stories (First Steps Children’s Theatre); Jack Beggles in The Hundred Dresses, Mike Teavee in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Milwaukee’s Todd Wehr Theatre); and as Herman in H.H. Holmes: House of Horror, Danny in Outliers (Alchemist Theatre). He’s been most recently seen as an Elf in the First Stage/ Emerald City production of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer at the Broadway Playhouse. In his spare time, he enjoys reading and writing.
Ann has performed at Northlight many times beginning with Quilters followed by Driving Miss Daisy for which she received the Sarah Siddons Actress of the Year Award. She also appeared in The Cripple of Inishmaan, Grey Gardens and Lost in Yonkers. Other Chicago credits include appearances at Lincolnshire Marriott, Drury Lane Oakbrook, Court, Steppenwolf (Jeff Award – Ensemble), Mercury, Northwestern University, Goodman, ATC (directed by her daughter, Sarah in Trip to Bountiful), Next, Apple Tree and Writers. Regional credits include Wit (Actors Theatre of Louisville) and Fossils (Sacramento Theatre Company) which she also performed at Victory Gardens with Julie Harris. Ann has appeared in many films such as The Fugitive, Sugar, Home Alone and While You Were Sleeping.
Neil Simon is an American playwright and screenwriter widely regarded as one of the most successful, prolific, and performed playwrights in the world. Mr. Simon is the recipient of numerous awards for his work, including the Pulitzer Prize (Lost In Yonkers), Tony Awards (The Odd Couple, Biloxi Blues, Lost In Yonkers, and a special Tony Award For Overall Contribution to the Theatre), Emmy Awards (The Sid Caesar Show and The Phil Silvers Show), and Writers Guild Screen Awards (The Odd Couple and The Out-Of-Towners). Nominations: Tonys (Little Me, Barefoot in the Park, Plaza Suite, Promises, Promises, The Last of the Red Hot Lovers, Brighton Beach Memoirs, Broadway Bound, Lost in Yonkers, and the musical The Goodbye Girl), a Writers Guild Laurel Award, an American Comedy Award for Lifetime Achievement, a Writers Guild Screen Award (Barefoot in the Park), an Oscar (The Odd Couple), an Evening Standard, a Sam S. Shubert Foundation Award, Kennedy Center Honors, a UCLA Medal, a Peggy V. Helmerich Distinguished Author Award, and a William Inge Theater Festival award for Distinguished Achievement in the American Theater. Simon is the author of plays and musicals, including Come Blow Your Horn, Sweet Charity, The Star-Spangled Girl, Plaza Suite, The Prisoner of Second Avenue, The Sunshine Boys, Rumors, Jake’s Women, Laughter on the 23rd Floor, London Suite, Proposals, and The Dinner Party, among others. Select screenwriting credits: The Cheap Detective, Seems Like Old Times, Murder by Death, and The Star-Spangled Girl, and others, including film adaptations of many of his plays. Select television credits: The Tallulah Bankhead Show and ABC’s Broadway Bound.
Devon De Mayo
Devon is thrilled to return to Northlight after directing Lost in Yonkers and formerly serving as the theatre’s Director of Education. Most recently, Devon worked as the Resident Director under Stephen Daldry on the Tony-winning Broadway production of The Audience. Directing credits: Jet Black Chevrolet (side project); Compulsion and Everything is Illuminated (Next);An Actor Prepares (Logan Center); Roadkill Confidential, The Further Adventures of Hedda Gabler, Clouds (Dog & Pony); Infiltrating Bounce (Luminaria, San Antonio); and 52 (Canal Café, London). Directing & devising credits: Guerra: A Clown Play (performances in Chicago, New York, Albuquerque, Madrid, Bogota, and Mexico City); The Whole World is Watching, As Told by the Vivian Girls(Dog & Pony), and The Twins Would Like to Say (Dog & Pony, Steppenwolf Garage Rep). She is the co-artistic director of Dog & Pony Theatre and received her MFA from Middlesex University in London.
Grant is a native of rural Illinois who blends his rural roots with urban art. He’s a graduate of Columbia College with a BFA in theatre design where he was awarded the 2005 Michael Merritt scholarship for collaboration in theatre design. He is known throughout Chicago for his keen eye in capturing atmospheric detail and his ability to design “impressively executed sets” on a storefront-theater budget. His designs have been seen at Victory Gardens , Steppenwolf , Next, Royal George, Overture Center (WI), Theatre Wit, Gallagher Bluedorn (IA), American Blues, ATC, and A Red Orchid. He was nominated for a Joseph Jefferson award for his design of A Red Orchid’s production of The Sea Horse and Dog & Pony’s production of Mr. Marmalade. He was recently named one of the Top 50 Players in Chicago Theatre by New City Magazine.
Rachel is honored to be joining Northlight for the 23rd time after last season’s By the Water and Relativity. Her designs have previously been seen Off Broadway at Pearl Theatre and regionally at Chicago Shakespeare, Steppenwolf First Look, Writers, Court, Milwaukee Rep, Great Lakes Theatre, Idaho Shakespeare, American Players, Florentine Opera, Drury Lane, Arizona Theatre Company, Resident Ensemble Players, Kansas City Rep, Utah Shakespeare, Actors Theatre Louisville, Illinois Shakespeare, Next Act, Peninsula Players, Remy Bumppo, Timeline, Chamber, Renaissance Theaterworks, Skylight Music Theatre, Arkansas Shakespeare, Children’s Theatre of Madison and University of Michigan. Other professional credits include NBC’S Law & Order, Chicago Opera Theatre, and Garsington Opera. Rachel is a recipient of a 2011 Emerging Artist Award from the University of Michigan and a 2009 Joseph Jefferson Award for Voysey Inheritance. www.rachellaritz.com
Lee has designed lights for The House Theatre of Chicago (company member), Northlight, Lookingglass, Court, Next, 500 Clown, Silk Road Rising (Artistic Associate), Milwaukee Rep, Centerstage Baltimore, Kansas City Rep, Circle, Griffin, Bailiwick, Infamous Commonwealth, Buzz22, Theatre Seven of Chicago, Bailiwick Chicago, Steppenwolf SYA, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre Short Shakes!, About Face Youth Theatre, The Building Stage, Apple Tree and Santa Barbara Dance Alliance. Lee’s scenic designs have been seen at Silk Road Rising, Collaboraction, Adventure Stage, Infamous Commonwealth and The Hypocrites. Lee is a Senior Lecturer at Loyola University Chicago and holds an MFA in Theatre Design from Northwestern University.
Nick is thrilled to be working with Northlight for the third time after Lost in Yonkers and Detroit ’67 last season. Nick has designed over 125 shows in the Chicago area, including shows at Court (Sizwe Banzi is Dead, The Illusion, The Piano Lesson), Next (Everything is Illuminated, End Days), Millennium Park (Guerra: A Clown Play), Neo-Futurists (The Sovereign Statement), Rivendell (These Shining Lives), A Red Orchid (The Iliad, Not a Game for Boys), and New Leaf (Arcadia, The Man Who Was Thursday, Touch, The Dining Room). He recently served as associate sound designer for Smokefall at Goodman. Nick teaches sound design at DePaul University and serves as a digital and web experience designer for a number of Chicago theatres, including the Neo-Futurists and the Paramount in Aurora.
Production Stage Manager
Rita Vreeland has been a frequent stage manager at Northlight since 2007, with Birthday Candles marking her 42nd production here. Other favorite recent projects include Ernest Shackleton Loves Me at Porchlight Music Theatre, A Christmas Carol at Drury Lane, The Luckiest at Raven Theatre, three years of The Polar Express Train Ride, and productions at Mercury Theatre, Victory Gardens, Route 66 Theatre Company, Theatre at the Center, and The Galway International Arts Festival in Galway, Ireland. She is the proud wife of actor Tom Hickey and mom to ten-year-old Charlie, and this year she celebrated her 22nd anniversary as a member of Actors’ Equity Association. Thank you for supporting live theatre!