Sent: Thursday, November 26, 2009 9:15 AM
On LOST IN YONKERS and MOMMY QUEEREST
Diane Perleman and I together were completely privileged last night to have seen your wholly humane and richly comic and touchingly wonderful production of the Neil Simon classic “Lost in Yonkers,” so obviously the choice for both Tony and Pulitzer status on Broadway in 1991.
You have all surely reminded us of Simon’s stature as a great American “dramatic” playwright individually, who ought not be confined to the category of comedy alone, and also of the status of this play in particular in the canon of Broadway and even beyond the Great White Way in the tradition of thoughtful, indeed no-holds-barred exploration of family and character, the very human fundament beneath all ethnic or religious surfaces, whether Jewish-American or anything-American.
Bravo to you Ari as Theater J’s artistic director and also to Jerry Whiddon the director of this play, and the two marvelous boy actors: the seriously gifted Kyle Schliefer and sweet-faced and future Tony-award-winner Max Talisman, and also for stealing more than his share of the show, to the sly Uncle Louie of Marcus Kyd. Every boy should have an Uncle Louie — or just fuggetaboutit.
And of course a myriad of bravas go to the play’s mother-daughter acting twins, that brilliantly talented pair together again, of Holly Twyford — who is easily the equal of that other classic character of drama, the fragile yet steely daughter, Laura, in Williams’ Glass Menagerie – and finally Herself, forever-Grandma-cold-but-underneath-it-all-just-barely-vulnerable: the formidable Tana Hickern. I would eat Her soup and like it!
If only I had seen your play when there was still time for me to review it for the 160,000 households in northern Virginia which are delivered the FAIRFAX COUNTY TIMES (a weekly newspaper now owned by the Washington Post-Newsweek company), it would have been reviewed there properly of course! But our next issue doesn’t come out until next Wednesday, after “Lost in Yonkers” has, alas, closed.
So let the aforementioned thoughts stand as the review – in part – that I would have written had our printing presses been better timed to help shower “Lost in Yonkers” with the kudos it so richly merits. There is a huge potential audience in Fairfax County that deserves to be alerted to the incredible corpus of work at Theatre J! In the future, so let it be said, so let it be written!
Nearly finally, I want to see your next production — “Mommie Queerest” (running December 16-January 3) — this time well in time for review in the paper, at its Press Night Sunday, December 20 at 7:30 PM!
And – now – finally, I’m just glad that I met Ari and Shirley at J Street, which I attended courtesy of Diane Perleman’s earlier heads-up, though I had in fact known Jeremy, when he was Policy Director, from the days of mutual work on Howard Dean’s presidential campaign in 2003-2004.
and yes, feel free to use anything written above as you may see fit in any future promotional materials.