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University of Iowa News Release


July 1, 2011

Iowa Summer Rep 2011 presents Neil Simon's 'Lost in Yonkers'

Iowa Summer Rep 2011, "About My Family," will stage Neil Simon's Pulitzer Prize-winning domestic comedy "Lost in Yonkers" at 8 p.m. Thursday, July 14, in E.C. Mabie Theatre of the University of Iowa Theatre Building. Additional performances will be at 8 p.m. July 15, 16 and 21-23.

The production is directed by Eric Forsythe, the UI Department of Theatre Arts faculty member who is the artistic director of Iowa Summer Rep, and the cast features Actors' Equity members Kristen Behrendt, Rachel Lindhart and Katie Consamus, who is a UI graduate acting student.

After the death of their mother, brothers Arty and Jay are left in the care of their grandmother and aunt while their father works as a traveling salesman to pay off debts. Add to the mix the hoodlum uncle and another aunt with a psychological breathing problem and you have the Simonesque ingredients for both comedy and dramatic impact.

Forsythe says, "Simon has given us a masterpiece, true to his own experience growing up, that asks how respect and love work together to make a secure family unit.

"One of the characters in the play asks, 'The one place in the world you're safe, is with your family... Right?' But there's a lot more to family than security, and love comes in many forms. Persistence and bravery can matter on the home front, where 'family' is something you earn.

"This Pulitzer Prize-winner is a stunning coming-of-age play about tough love, adversity and rolling with the punches. And it's funny! Like some families I know."

In addition to the Pulitzer Prize, "Lost in Yonkers" won the Drama Desk Award for Best New Play and the Tony Award for Best Play.

Simon was a product of a marriage that also saw its share of turbulence, and he grew up in New York City's Washington Heights neighborhood during the Great Depression. After graduating from public school, he enlisted in the Army and began his career writing for an Army camp newspaper. A week later, armistice was declared.

After discharge, he was soon writing comedy revues with his brother Danny in the Poconos, and then for radio, providing material for Tallulah Bankhead, and finally for television, where he helped make Phil Silvers, Jackie Gleason, Red Buttons, Garry Moore, Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca funny.

Simon has written more than 30 plays and more than 35 screenplays. He holds the record for the greatest number of hits in the American theater and has been rewarded with four Tony Awards, two Emmys, a Screen Writers Guild Award and the Pulitzer Prize. The city which has figured so prominently in his life and work has honored him by making him the only living playwright for whom a Broadway theater is named.

2011 is the 20th anniversary of "Lost in Yonkers," which ran for nearly 800 performances on Broadway.

Other artistic contributors to the Iowa Sumer Rep production of "Lost in Yonkers" include scene and lighting designer Paul Collins, costume designer Brittany Dee Bodley and sound designer Lindsay Wolf.

Tickets are now on sale from the Hancher box office in the Old Capitol Centre. Hancher Box Office summer business hours, for walk-up and phone sales, are 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. weekdays. From the local calling area, dial 319-335-1160. Long distance is toll-free, 1-800-HANCHER. People with special needs for access, seating and auxiliary services should dial 319-335-1158, which is equipped with TDD for people with hearing impairment who use that technology.

Any remaining tickets for each performance will be on sale one hour before curtain time at the Theatre Building box office.

Other productions in the "About My Family" summer are Pulitzer Prize winner "The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds" by Paul Zindel and the evergreen musical "I Do! I Do!"

Individual tickets are $26, $23 for senior citizen, $13 for youth and $5 for UI student with a valid UI ID. A season package -- including a ticket to each of the plays -- is available for a discount of 20 percent.

The 2011 theme-based repertory is a departure from the single-playwright-festival that has been a Summer Rep tradition since 1984. In 2000 Iowa Summer Rep became an Actor's Equity Company, elevating its status as a professional theater company.

For additional information about each of the productions, and the Iowa Summer Rep tradition in the Department of Theatre Arts, visit

The Department of Theatre Arts is a unit of the Division of Performing Arts in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Iowa Summer Rep is sponsored, in part, by the UI Office of Summer Session.

UI arts events are searchable on the UI Master Calendar: To receive UI arts news by e-mail, go to click on "Subscribe or Unsubscribe and then follow the instructions.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACT: Winston Barclay, 319-384-0073, University News Services,