Diane and I joined three other couples at Desiderio’s Dinner Theatre for an evening of fun and drama. Yes, Neil Simon wrote many funny plays, but Lost In Yonkers–which won Simon his only Pulitzer Prize–blends comedy with some tragedy. Local actors (not Richard Dreyfuss nor Mercedes Ruerhl) star in this production. The two young boys, Ayden Herreid (15 years old) and Timothy Whipple (13 years old), are brothers who must deal with the 1942 World War II circumstances their father (Kevin Nagel) finds himself in: he owes money to a loan shark.

The brothers are forced to stay with their crusty grandmother (played by Ellen Holst) and follow her strict rules. Their mentally challenged Aunt Bella (Diane DeBernardo) both comforts the boys and drives them crazy. Uncle Louie (Eliot Fox), their father’s brother who is a small-time crook, shows up to liven the action.

Lost In Yonkers is not my favorite Neil Simon play (that would be The Odd Couple), but this local production was fun and entertaining. And the food was good, too. Do you have a favorite Neil Simon play or movie? GRADE: B


  1. Steve Oerkfitz

    Liked Murder by Death, The Odd Couple and The Heartbreak Kid. Mostly though I find him overrated. Never cared for The Sunshine Boys, Plaza Suite, The Goodbye Girl etc. Any episode of Seinfeld in far funnier than those.

  2. Todd Mason

    COME BLOW YOUR HORN seemed to be relatively free of shtick…I read it before I saw it. I played Murray the Cop in a high school production of ODD, but my family moved to Hawaii from New Hampshire before the school year ended, so I had to drop out. (1979 telepresence didn’t go all that far.)

  3. Deb

    I always loved “The Goodbye Girl” although I suspect it hasn’t aged well. I haven’t seen it in decades and that’s probably for the best.

  4. Patti Abbott

    I saw TGBG recently and thought it had aged okay. I also love BAREFOOT IN THE PARK, THE ODD COUPLE. Didn’t know he was the writer of THE HEARTBREAK KID but I loved that one.

  5. Jeff Meyerson

    We saw LOST IN YONKERS on Broadway, with Ruehl, Irene Worth as Grandma, and Kevin Spacey as Louie. Not my favorite, but good, and Ruehl is a favorite (especially of Jackie’s). We’ve seen a lot of Simon’s plays over the years, starting with BAREFOOT IN THE PARK in the ’60s (I think we saw Joan Van Ark in her Broadway debut in the role originated by Elizabeth Ashley, and played by Jane Fonda in the movie). We’ve also seen THE ODD COUPLE (definitely a favorite), THE STAR-SPANGLED GIRL (not a favorite), PLAZA SUITE, THE PRISONER OF SECOND AVENUE (with Phyllis Newman, who just died), THE GOOD DOCTOR, GOD’S FAVORITE, CHAPTER TWO (twice, as we had to take our friends from England, who were visiting), THEY’RE PLAYING OUR SONG (musical; Robert Klein and Lucie Arnaz), I OUGHT TO BE IN PICTURES, the autobiographical trilogy of BRIGHTON BEACH MEMOIRS, BILOXI BLUES, and BROADWAY BOUND, and LOST IN YONKERS.

    BRIGHTON BEACH MEMOIRS was the other standout. We saw Matthew Broderick in this and BILOXI BLUES (with Barry “Call me, Tony” Miller).

  6. Jeff Meyerson

    Oh, movies? This is just the shows. I never liked HEARTBREAK KID. Jackie was a huge fan of GOODBYE GIRL, like Deb, It was OK. Most of the screenplays were adapted from his plays, which were generally better.

    I did enjoy the portrayal of Simon and his first wife as friends of Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon in FOSSE AND VERDON.

  7. Michael Padgett

    I’ve never seen any of his works on the stage, but have seen lots of movies based on them. Most of them are forgotten, at least by me, but I remember finding “Barefoot in the Park” with Fonda and Redford hysterically funny when I saw it in the late 60s. Haven’t seen it since, and it would be interesting to see if it holds up.

  8. Todd Mason

    The first film of THE HEARTBREAK KID was reasonably faithful to the source story, “A Change of Plan”, by Bruce Jay Friedman (I prefer BJF to Simon by some margin, on balance). Haven’t seen the remake yet, which as a Farrelly Bros. product is probably more in a slapstick vein.


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