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White Theatre: Current Season - Brighton Beach Memoirs

Auditions Cast List Production Staff Synopsis

 

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Cast List

Eugene: Josh Brady
Blanche: Meagan Edmonds
Kate: Sarah Montoya
Laurie: Georgia Dubois

Nora: Misty Ballew
Stanley: Hunter Hawkins
Jack: Don Leonard

 

Production Staff

Director: Tim Bair
Stage Manager: April Kobetz
Asst. Stage Manager: Catherine Lewis
Costume Designer: Julia Ras

Synopsis

Act I

Brighton Beach Memoirs opens in September, 1937, in the Jerome household. The Jeromes live in a lower middle class neighborhood in Brighton Beach, New York. It is about 6:30 in the evening and fourteen-year-old Eugene Morris Jerome is playing a semi-imaginary game of baseball outside. As his ball hits the house, Eugene’s aunt, Blanche Morton, gets a headache. Eugene’s mother Kate yells at her son to stop the game and come inside. Eugene reluctantly comes inside. He tells the audience that he wants to play professional baseball or be a writer. He is sent upstairs, and he begins writing in his journal.

Eugene tells the audience that his Aunt Blanche and his two cousins, Nora and Laurie, live with his family because Blanche’s husband died of cancer six years ago. Eugene’s father, Jack, has worked two jobs to support everyone for three and a half years. Eugene’s writing is interrupted when Kate demands that he come down and set the table instead of Laurie. Laurie has a heart flutter, and Eugene complains that he has to do everything because of his cousin’s illness.

As Eugene sets the table, sixteen-year-old Nora comes in and is very excited. She has been offered a chance to audition for a dancing role in a Broadway show. Nora says that the producer assured her that she would get the part if her mother gave her permission. Blanche hesitates because it would mean Nora would have to drop out of school, but Nora argues that she could support Blanche and Laurie if she took the job. Blanche can’t make the decision, leaving it up to Jack when he returns.

Eugene’s mother sends him to the store. Nora and Laurie talk in their room. They discuss their dead father and they resolve to spend no more money on anything so they can buy a house for their mother. When Eugene returns, his elder brother Stanley is waiting for him. Stanley tells Eugene that he was fired from his job for standing up for a coworker. To regain his position, he must apologize to his boss. Stanley wants to stand up for his principles, but the family desperately needs the money. Stanley decides to talk it over with his father.

A tired-looking Jack Jerome arrives home carrying several large boxes. They contain noise makers and party favors. Jack’s second job was selling these items to hotels and nightclubs, but the business closed that day and he was left without employment. Jack worries about being able to support the large family. At the dinner table, everyone is tense. Jack suggests to Stan that he ask his boss for a raise. Laurie brings up Nora’s offer, much to her chagrin. After dinner, Nora insists on talking about the audition with Jack, though her mother tries to prevent her. Jack offers his advice as they walk down to the beach.

Meanwhile, Stanley and Eugene talk in their room. Eugene describes an erotic dream he has had, and Stanley tells him it was a wet dream. Eugene presses him for information on puberty and girls, especially their cousin Nora, but Stanley’s focus is on his employment problem. Kate and Blanche have a conversation downstairs. Kate tries to convince Blanche to come to a party that Jack’s company is giving next week, but Blanche reveals that she has a date with Frank Murphy, a man who lives across the street with his mother. Nora and Jack return, and Nora presses her mother to make a decision. Blanche, like Jack, thinks Nora should finish high school. This angers Nora, and she storms upstairs.

Jack is growing more tired, and Kate wants him to come to bed. Stanley appears and asks to talk to his father. Stanley tells Jack what happened, and his father understands his dilemma. Stanley decides to write the letter and apologize. Stanley hires Eugene to write the letter in exchange for a detailed description of the time Stanley saw Nora naked in the shower.

Act II

This act takes place one week later. The household is in disarray because Jack has had a heart attack in the past week and is resting at home. Also, Blanche is getting ready for her date with Frank Murphy. Stanley sneaks into the house and talks to Eugene in their room. Stanley has lost his entire week’s salary playing poker and is desperate about what to do.

Jack decides to get up and go downstairs to meet Blanche’s date. Kate is appalled at her husband’s disregard for his health, and they argue. Nora comes downstairs and leaves for her date, not wanting to see her mother. Blanche makes an appearance, and everyone present thinks she looks like a movie star. Jack sends Eugene and Laurie to get ice cream. Kate goes upstairs to ask Stanley for his pay so she can give emergency money to Blanche. Stanley tells her that he lost it in a poker game. Kate tries to remain calm and decides not to tell anyone about the matter until later.

Kate comes back into the kitchen in a very agitated state. Blanche is still worrying about Nora. Kate gets angry at Blanche for only focusing on her own problems. The sisters get into a fight which is interrupted by Laurie’s return. On her way to get ice cream, Frank Murphy’s mother gave the girl a note. Frank had a car accident and will not be able to keep their date because he is in the hospital. This leads to another argument between Kate and Blanche. Kate expresses her resentment at Blanche for things that go back to their childhood. Blanche decides that she will move out and live with a friend while she looks for a job. When she has a job, she tells Kate, she will take her daughters and move into her own home.

Eugene is sent upstairs to get Stanley and Laurie for dinner. Stanley demands money from Eugene in case he has to sleep out that night. Stanley has decided to join the Army because he might be able to make more money that way. Eugene becomes very upset, but Stanley still leaves. Eugene cannot tell his family about where Stanley has gone during dinner. After the meal, he tells Laurie.

Several hours later, Blanche waits outside for Nora to return. Blanche tells Nora about her decision. Nora tells her that she feels that Blanche does not care for her as much as she does Laurie. They make an awkward peace. Kate comes downstairs because of the noise, and Kate asks Blanche not to leave. Kate convinces Blanche to stay while she looks for work.

The next day, Stanley comes back just in time for dinner. Stanley says he passed the physical, but he could not join up knowing how much the family needed him at home. Stanley and Jack talk. Stanley made some money at a bowling alley, which he gives to his mother. He promises to make up the rest. Jack tells him that war is coming.

Upstairs, Stanley gives Eugene a present: a postcard with a naked woman on it. Eugene is overwhelmed. Jack gets a letter saying that his cousin and family have escaped Poland and are coming to New York City. He begins making plans for fitting the extra family members into the house.

Rated PG

 


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