The play begins in a tenement apartment on Manhattan's Lower East Side in 1947, where the Fox family--widowed Ma and her grown daughters Anna, Sophie and Miri--have gathered for Saturday night dinner. Their regular gossip-and-complaint session is interrupted by the unexpected arrival of Jimmy, Miri's goyisheh boyfriend, who wants her to come to California, where he is starting a business with a partner named Everett Beekin VI--scion of a long line of talented men mysteriously prone to sudden disappearance.
In Act Two, the action moves forward and westward to the late 1990s in southern California, where Jimmy's dream of a new and prosperous life is being lived out by Anna's children Celia and Nell, and Nell's daughter Laurel, who happens to be marrying... Everett Beekin VIII, the grandson of Jimmy's partner and an endearing lost soul with pre-wedding jitters.
The two time periods and settings add up to make an unorthodox play that is funny, touching and surprising. Everett Beekin opens revealing windows on the American Dream as well as the way mothers hand down their traditions (and their foibles) to their daughters. Small wonder that The Los Angeles Times dubbed Richard Greenberg "one of America's sharpest and deepest wits in any medium."
Greenberg's plays include Eastern Standard, Night and Her Stars, The Maderati, Hurrah At Last, and Three Days of Rain, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.
This show also marked the LCT debuts of three remarkable women--starting with director Evan Yionoulis, who won an Obie for Three Days of Rain. Her productions at theaters around the country have garnered great acclaim and, somehow in the midst of her busy schedule, she also finds time to chair the acting department at Yale and is a resident director at Yale Rep.
Each of the six cast members played dual roles--one in each act--and we were thrilled to welcome the versatile actors Robin Bartlett and Bebe Neuwirth in the central roles of Sophie/Celia and Anna/Nell. Both women are probably best known to you from popular TV series: Bartlett played Paul Reiser's sister on "Mad About You" and Neuwirth is a two-time Emmy winner for her portrayal of Lilith Crane on "Cheers" and "Frasier." However, they both have extensive theater credits. Bartlett has appeared in dozens of plays on and off Broadway--including a memorable leading role in Craig Lucas' Reckless and an Obie-winning performance in The Early Girl. And Neuwirth is a two-time Tony winner for her work in the revivals of Chicago and Sweet Charity and most recently starred on Broadway in Fosse.
The rest of the company included the accomplished actors Jeff Allin, Jennifer Carpenter, Kevin Isola and Marcia Jean Kurtz. Designs for Everett Beekin were by Christopher Barreca (sets), Teresa Snider-Stein (costumes), Donald Holder (lighting), and Mike Yionoulis (sound).