By Lisa Oswald
Looking for something to do before the chaos of finals kicks in? Well, you’re in luck! The Menomonie Theatre Guild is putting on the epic production of “Lost in Yonkers” at the Mabel Tainter Theatre.
“Lost in Yonkers” is quite the play, serving as both a drama and a comedy by pulling experiences from writer Neil Simon’s time growing up in New York City. The play is set during World War II and depicts appropriate wartime themes: survival, acceptance and importance of one’s family.
The play features two young boys, Jay and Arty Kurnitz, who are about to endure the longest year of their lives. The action in the play is generated by a crisis in the life of Jay and Arty’s father, Eddie Kurnitz. Jay and Arty learn that before their mother died from cancer, Eddie borrowed money from a loan shark to pay her medical bills. Eddie is forced to take a high paying war-related job selling scrap metal to try to repay the loan shark. But the job requires so much travel that he has to leave his two boys behind with his mother, a German immigrant with little tolerance for children even though she owns a candy store.
“Lost in Yonkers” features a whole gamut of characters. There is gangster Uncle Louie, the childlike Aunt Bella and Aunt Gert, who has a breathing affliction. Twists, turns and complete turmoil spiral the entire family, and the youngsters, Jay and Arty, are buckled in to witness it all.
This play has been said to be the pinnacle of Simon’s writing career, and director Michael Cook agrees.
“This play may very well be the best play Simon ever wrote,” said Cook.
This is Cook’s second time directing a production for the theater guild. The seven actors have been rehearsing Monday through Friday evenings for the past five weeks, and it is
safe to say that they are excited for their performance.
“My favorite part about this production, and every production I direct, is watching the cast as they bring their characters to life, adding personal nuances to the script and becoming a cohesive unit as they combine forces to bring the story to life,” Cook said.\
Opening weekend is set for April 26 at 7:30 p.m. and April 27 at 2 p.m. There will also be showings May 1, 2 and 3 at 7:30 p.m. with the final performances on May 4 at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are available at menomonietheaterguild.com
It’s Color Dash Time!
The Menomonie Theater Guild is also hosting the Color Dash 5k in Menomonie to support local art programs—half of the proceeds will be donated to this cause. The Color Dash is being held on May 3 at 1 p.m. and will start at Wakanda Park.
Why not participate in the celebration of color before seeing “Lost in Yonkers” that evening?
Registration information can be found at menomonietheaterguild.com