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Brighton Beach Memoirs

A confident and assured production of Neil Simon's caring comedy, "Brighton Beach Memoirs" wraps up the 2004-2005 season at the Community Theatre of Terre Haute with three final performances this weekend.

In Simon's play, it's 1937. Flyer Amelia Earhart is lost over the Pacific Ocean and the New York Giants have lost to their cross-town rivals, the New York Yankees. On the serious side of nutrition, Spam is created. On the lighter side Krispie Kreme donuts are added to the national diet. In the dark background, things are heating up in Europe.

The engaging teenaged narrator, Eugene Jerome, played by Eric Jakowczyk (Jah koh zek) is dreaming of home runs and hormones, of Babe Ruth and well…just babes. He does practice a little baseball, but it's his hormones that make for a lot of laughs in "Brighton Beach Memoirs."

Things are tough in the Jerome Household. Father Jack, the solid Ed Browne, is holding down two jobs. Eugene's older brother Stanley, the lanky Josh Jeffers, helps out some and their mother Kate, wonderfully played Kathy Allen, is a wonder at budgeting, but there still isn't ever quite enough money. The family situation is even more difficult because Kate's sister Blanche, the sympathetic Lynette Schwane, and her daughters Nora the aspiring dancer, the graceful Jennifer Wulf, and Laurie, the delightfully bratty Kit Gambill, have been crowding in with them during the years since the death of their father.

The families of two sisters packed together in "Brighton Beach Memoirs," the strains and temptations of growing up are all part of the drama. It's frequently very funny at times serious and moving as the families sort out old and present grievances and gird themselves for an uncertain future. There's even some wisdom, but it has a light touch. and as father Jack says to his niece Nora, the thing about wisdom is that you don't have to take it.

Doug Short directs the Terre Haute Community Theatre production of "Brighton Beach Memoirs". There's a very-period-looking set by Bob Cundiff with decoration by Jeri Doty. The costumes by Sherrie Wright share the late 30s look.

"Brighton Beach Memoirs," plays this Friday and Saturday at eight and Sunday at two-thirty ending the season at the Community Theatre of Terre Haute. The 2005-2006 shows begin in September with Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman's comedy "The Man Who Came to Dinner"

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