Opens at Wine Country Theatre on Nov. 15

“Brighton Beach Memoirs,” the award-winning, semi-autobiographical comedy by Neil Simon, opens Friday, Nov. 15 and runs through Dec. 1 at the Park Ballroom, 1232 Park St., in Downtown Paso Robles.

Wine Country Theatre continues its fifth season with a play that Variety magazine calls, “Simultaneously poignant and funny. The characters are fully dimensional, believable…An outstanding show.”

Based on Simon’s life, the play is set in Brooklyn in 1937. The comedy focuses on the Jerome family and their personal and collective struggles during the Depression. The outside world is also in turmoil as the storm clouds in Europe become more ominous with talk of war and the fate of the family’s Jewish relatives in Poland.

We are introduced to Eugene Morris Jerome; the playwright’s 15-year-old alter ego. He wants to be a writer and his crowed, middle-class home provides the fodder for his secret memoirs that he is writing. Young Eugene is also absorbed in baseball, and will give anything to play for the New York Yankees, but would trade all that just to get one peek at a naked girl.

Directed by Cynthia Anthony, founder of Wine Country Theatre, the play is much more than just a domestic comedy.

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“All of us can relate to the plight of Eugene,” Anthony stated. “The mysteries of puberty, a crowded house, well-meaning, yet bossy parents, financial struggles and the horror of being served liver for dinner. But, even more importantly, we know that family can hold us together in even the most difficult times.”

Eugene, the young protagonist obsessed with baseball and girls, is played by Curran Bojorquez. As he shares excerpts from his memoirs, we are introduced to his overworked father, played by Tracy Mayfield, and his domineering, under-appreciated mother, played Janine Elich. His wordly-wise older brother is played by Thomas Grandoli. His cousin Nora, the beautiful dancer and frequent object of Eugene’s fantasies, is played by Elizabeth Umphenour. Her younger, pampered bookworm sister is played by Baily Bojorquez and, the widowed asthmatic Aunt Blanche is played by Kristen Saunders.

“The caliber of our cast combined with Simon’s hysterical and loving script, promises to be a great evening, or afternoon, of theatre,” stated Anthony. “Wine Country Theatre is thrilled to be presenting its fifth season of live theatre and we are grateful for the incredible talent and appreciative audience.”

The show runs Nov. 15-Dec. 1; Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. with Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. at the Park Ballroom in Downtown Paso Robles. Wine, snacks and desserts are available for purchase; generous table seating allows refreshments to be enjoyed during the show. Tickets are $25 general public, $20 for groups of 8 or more and $15 students.

For more information, visit winecountrytheatre.com.