WEST ORANGE, NJ - Editor's Note: Due to Hurricane Sandy, "Lost in Yonkers" has been rescheduled for this coming weekend, and information in this article has been updated.
As a 2012 graduate of West Orange High School and former member of the Drama Department, I was able to attend a rehearsal of the upcoming fall play Lost In Yonkers written by Neil Simon. Directed and produced by Sandra VanDyke, the play is set in 1942 Yonkers, New York, at the beginning of WWII. This dramatic comedy has a very emotional story to tell as it explores the lives of several family members who each go through transformations of character. The play centers on the Kurnitz family. Following the death of their mother, two boys are sent by their father to live with their very traditional and strong-minded grandmother who was raised in Germany amidst the turmoil of the end of the First World War. The story takes a detailed look at the influence of Grandma Kurnitz on her children after she suffered such a horrendous life. It also touches upon the changes of America going to war with Japan, but more importantly, Germany.
The two teen boys, Jay and Arty, are portrayed by sophomores Michael Leonardis and Eli Elman. Their father is played by senior actor Jesse Lab and grandmother by senior actress Kristie Keleshian. The final characters in the play are the boys’ Aunt Bella; a lonely 35 year old woman with disabilities, still living at home. Bella is played by senior Sophie Eisenbud. The boys' Uncle Louie, a mobster-like character, is portrayed by senior Ariel Schwarzer.
The amazing stage set, designed and built by Tony Minni and John Zacone, will captivate you and tranport you back in time. The costumes are outstanding the performanes are strong. Sandra VanDyke stated during practice “working on this production has been very rewarding on several levels: watching the students morph into these 1942 characters, marveling at the amazing set that was created, and connecting to my own World World II roots in Germany.”
The play is most appropriate for audiences ages 14 and up. Don’t miss out on the chance to see this wonderful show and to support the West Orange High School drama department! Showtimes are November 15, 16, and 17 at 7:30 pm at the West Orange High School Auditorium. Tickets are 8$ in advance and 10$ at the door. On Thursday, WOHS Date night is scheduled for students - buy one ticket, get one free. For more information please call 973.669.5301; ext. 31450, and to buy tickets online, go to www.seatyourself.biz/wohstheater.