The Broadway community got a rather stunning announcement today when news came out that the revival of Brighton Beach Memoirs, which just opened less than a week ago, will close tomorrow, Sunday, November 1st. This means that not only will that show be shuttering, but its sister production, Broadway Bound, won’t be opening at all. The two Neil Simon plays, both about Simon’s alter ego Eugene Morris Jerome at different stages in his life, were going to play in rep at the Nederlander Theatre. The reason for the unusually quick closing of Brighton Beach Memoirs, which stars Laurie Metcalf (Roseanne) and newcomer Noah Robbins, is simple: lack of ticket sales. In a season of dramas featuring big name stars (e.g. A Steady Rain starring Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig, Jude Law’s Hamlet), these two old-fashioned plays just couldn’t drum up enough public interest. Forty years ago, that would have been unthinkable, as Neil Simon’s name was a colossal draw at the Broadway box office, but his plays – new or old – simply don’t bring in the crowds the way they used to.
The revival of the Neil Simon comedy Brighton Beach Memoirs opens at the Nederlander Theatre tonight. The production will be playing in rep with another Neil Simon play, Broadway Bound, scheduled to open on December 10. Both plays are part of what is known as Simon’s semi-autobiographical “Eugene Morris Jerome trilogy,” three plays that follow a young man named Eugene Jerome from his youth in Brooklyn (Brighton Beach Memoirs) to his time spent in the army (Biloxi Blues) and on to his developing career as a comedy writer (Broadway Bound); however, Biloxi Blues is not part of this revival. Noah Robbins plays Eugene in Brighton Beach Memoirs, and also starring in the David Cromer-directed production is Laurie Metcalf (TV’s Roseanne, Broadway’s November) and Santino Fontana (Billy Elliot).