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Neil Simon play coming to Williamsport

The Community Theatre League in Williamsport is to reopening to the public with Neil Simon’s touching comedy “Brighton Beach Memoirs.”

According to a news release, this production will mark the theatre’s return to indoor public performances since closing in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

At 20% capacity, the Community Theatre League will have a limited number of tickets on sale for each performance, encouraging social distancing, requiring masks to be worn by audiences, staff and actors, taking temperatures at the door, and having sanitizing stations available.

The league will perform the play at 7:30 p.m., Nov. 6 and 7 and Nov. 12 and 14 and 2 p.m., Nov. 8 and Nov. 15.

Set in the Brighton Beach area of Brooklyn in the Great Depression, Eugene, dreaming of baseball and girls, must cope with the mundane existence of his family life: formidable mother, overworked father, and his worldly older brother Stanley. Throw into the mix his widowed Aunt Blanche and her two young (but rapidly aging) daughters and, have a recipe for hilarity, served up in Neil Simon’s usual style. The show premiered on Broadway in 1983 and was revived in 2009, with a movie in 1986.

The production is directed by Jonathan Hetler, who returns to CTL after being seen in Little Shop of Horrors and She Loves Me. For Hetler, it’s a bittersweet return.

“I have loved getting to direct for CTL, a theatre that I grew up in and with since high school,” he said, according to the news release. “The bitter part, has been the circumstances that led me back to central Pennsylvania. I was working for a regional theatre in Milwaukee as COVID struck. The pandemic changed everything including the opportunity to continue work there. Unfortunately, this has been the case for so many artists right now. The bright spot is being able to create something right now, especially in person. It has been a gift and I am truly thankful to CTL for the opportunity.”

Hetler approached the period-piece production through contemporary eyes while working on bringing the show to life, ” ‘Brighton Beach Memoirs’ feels like a show set today, but in period clothing. As I researched the play, I discovered that the parallels between 1937 and 2020 are uncanny.”

The cast of “Brighton Beach” includes CTL regulars Adam Fox as Eugene, Marie Fox as Kate, Jason Kriner as Jack, with Hannah Bastian, Chase Bower, and Sloan Wood and CTL newcomer Samantha Storm as Blanche. Understudies include Aleah Stahlnecker and Janel Stahlnecker. The production staff includes Hetler, Heather Myers as stage manager and Phill Haney, Gerry Gold, Brenda Nichols and William Young,

Tickets can be purchased at www.ctlshows.com or by phone at 570-327-1777. Reservations are strongly recommended due to limited seating.

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