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Lost in Yonkers [Audio Cassette]

Neil Simon
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Book Description

January 2002
"Neil Simon has done it again, with a craftmanship and skill probably unmatched in the contemporary English-speaking theater." —Clive Barnes, New York Post

What happens to children in the absence of love? That is the question that lies at the heart of this funny and heartrending play by one of America's most acclaimed and beloved playwrights. Winner of four Tony Awards, including Best Play, and the Pulitzer Prize, Lost in Yonkers is Neil Simon's moving drama about the cruelties and painful memories that scar a family. It is New York, 1942. After the death of their mother, two young brothers are sent to stay with their formidable grandmother for the longest ten months of their lives. For Grandmother Kurnitz is a one-woman German front—a refugee and a widow who has steeled her heart against the world. Her coldness and intolerance have crippled her own children: the boys' father has no self-esteem . . . their Aunt Gert has an embarrassing speech impediment . . . their Uncle Louie is a small-time gangster . . . and their Aunt Bella has the mentality of a child. But it is Bella's hunger for affection and her refusal to be denied love that saves the boys—and that leads to an unforgettable, wrenching confrontation with her mother. Filled with laughter, tears, and insight, Lost in Yonkers is yet another heartwarming testament to Neil Simon's talent.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Description

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.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Lost in Yonkers Dec 18 2001
By kristi
Lost in Yonkers is a play by Neil Simon. I gave it four stars because it's and easy to read, easy to understand, interesting book. It's a story about two young boys, Artie and Jay and their father Eddie. The boys mother dies of cancer and the family is left without any money and very much in debt. Eddie had spent all of their money trying to keep their mother alive. He owed money and didn't have a job. He only had one option. To leave his children with their strict, and non-affectionate grandmother, and their challenged aunt, while he leaves in search for a job. The children beg their father not to leave them, but he feels he has no other choice. So Eddie leaves for 10 months and the children struggle to get along with their grandmother. They think of running away with their uncle who is trying to escape from the mob. The only way they have contact with their father is through letters. Some of their obstacles include having to work in their grandmothers store so that they can eat dinner. Having to get up and eat bad soup when they're sick. To help their uncle in not letting the mob know where he is. They have to deal with two very strange aunts. They also have to suffer when they make mistakes. They are not allowed to cry. These children hardly get a normal childhood. Throughout the many challenges in this story, you are bound to get hooked.
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.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Superb. May 21 2001
This play is a true classic. It is different from Neil Simons other largely succesful plays, because of it's serious undertones; though it does not lack comedy. It takes place in the 1940's Yonkers, NY. Two boys whos' mother died recently of cancer move in with their grandmother while their father tries to pay off his debt by going around selling scrap iron in the south. The family is genuinely messed up, between simple yet sweet Bella, Henchman Louie, Gert who cannot speak without sucking in half of her sentence, and Eddie (the father of the two boys) who is rather weak; the boys have quite a family. But none of these characters are any bit as overwhelming as Jay and Arty's german grandmother, who was brought up strictly and brought her children up in such a way that there is something wrong with all of them.
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.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Fine if you like Neil Simon May 12 2004
By Becky D
Format:Audio CD
Start with a colorful group of Jewish characters, add a desperate financial situation, throw in some unfullfilled dreams and a couple old resentments, and wackiness ensues...
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.
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Format:Audio Cassette
One of Neil Simon's classic dramas, Lost In Yonkers is set in 1942 Yonkers, New York and centers on Jay and Arty, two boys (ages 13 and 16) who must spend one year with their rather austere and quite demanding grandmother while war rages in Europe. Here is a family of memorable and eccentric characters that can be identified within most families and assortments of kinfolk. The Los Angles Theatre Works cast under the direction of John Rubinstein does full justice in this radio play adaptation of Neil Simon's Pultizer Prize and Tony Award-winning play. This superbly recorded audiobook edition of Lost In Yonkers is very highly recommended to the legions of Neil Simon enthusiasts and fans.
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5.0 out of 5 stars "Lost In Yonkers" is one of the best plays ever! March 31 1997
By A Customer
I had a chance to play Jay in Neil Simon's "Lost In Yonkers." I must tell you that it is one of the most warm and heartfelt plays that I have read and performed in. Neil Simon incorporates wonderful humor and intense situations to make this one of his best and most memorable plays. I would encourage anyone to read it
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