Lost in Yonkers Audio Cassette – Jan 2002
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From Publishers Weekly
Simon's 1991 Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winning play about two young boys who are forced to live for a year with their domineering, ill-tempered grandmother while their father takes a job in another state is beautifully realized by the L.A. Theatre Works cast. Like most of Simon's works, this one features an eccentric cast of characters. Listeners meet Aunt Gert (played by Gia Carides), whose voice frequently switches into a wheeze midsentence, and Uncle Louie (played by Dan Castellaneta), a Bogart-like gangster. This production realizes Simon's trademark mix of comedy and drama: the one-liners are hilarious, but the characters' sad, dysfunctional relationships are poignant. The compassionate, three-dimensional performances, combined with Simon's nuanced writing and authentic rendering of 1940s speech, make the listener fully believe in these realistic, complex characters. Standout performers include Roxanne Hart as the boys' kindhearted but nervous Aunt Bella and Barbara Bain as Grandma Kurnitz, whose tough, coldhearted exterior is a reaction to a lifetime of devastating pain and loss. Also excellent are Ben Diskin and Kenneth Schmidt as the young boys. At first lonely and miserable, fearing and hating their stern grandmother, they gradually come to respect and understand her. Based on the Random House hardcover.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
From School Library Journal
YA-- An insightful drama about one woman's drive and its emotional toll on her and her family. Grandma Kurnitz has endured many crises, ranging from a harsh childhood in Germany to being a young widow with six children in a foreign country. From her life she learned to be strong, hard, and cold, and this is the lesson she tries to instill in her four remaining children. While her two teenage grandsons are in her care, the three learn the importance of being loved and loving, and the difference between living and surviving. The themes of family ties and the search for love should strike a responsive chord with many young adults.
Patricia A. Long, R.E. Lee High School, Springfield
Copyright 1992 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
I am very interested in seeing this as a play. I was very impressed with the liveliness of each of the characters. They were so easy to visualize, I almost felt as if I was them while I was reading this story. I think that seeing this as a play would be interesting because I have my idea on how the characters look and act, I wonder what they will look like in a play. And for the animation this story holds I give it four out of five stars. Go find out for yourself.
Yet, this play also has a bright side. The character of Arty has some wonderful oneliners; for instance:
"Jay: He had an uncle in Poland who died. He left the money in the will to Pop.
Arty: You think the Germans would let some Jew in Poland send nine thousand dollars to some Jew in Alabama?"
This line, if properly delivered is funny, yet poigniant. I strongly suggest that you read it; and if you get the chance, see it live. A heart-wrenching coming of age story about the search for independence and how the past can influence your life forever.
The play has some laughs, but most are at the expense of the humanity of the characters. The action seems to be driven more by Simon's attempt to make the characters "colorful" rather than to pursue deeper meaning. For example, Aunt Gert's overly-contrived speech impediment, introduced early for a cheap laugh, grows tiresome when she has extended lines in the second half. She is not a person -- she's "neurotic character B."
I listened to the play on CD. Perhaps the director felt that forced accents and overacting were necessary for an audio recording, but I found the lack of subtlety grating. If you don't already like other work by Neil Simon, I don't think this will change your mind.
Most recent customer reviews
I was pleasantly surprised by Lost in Yonkers. The story touched my heart without being pretentious. Read morePublished on Sept. 1 2001 by Sai Li
I thought this book was dumb. It never had a plot or a big punc to it. I needed there to be some more action to it.Published on May 14 2001 by Neil
I loved the movie and I loved the play. I was able to direct this play at my school and it was the greatest theater experience of my life! I would love to do it over again... Read morePublished on April 18 1999
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