THE BOYS NEXT DOOR Opens Thursday In Quogue
"The Boys Next Door"-a poignant comedy by Tom Griffin about four men with various mental disabilities living in a group home-will be the third play of the Hampton Theatre Company's 2017-2018 season, opening on March 22 at the Quogue Community Hall and running through April 8.
In brief vignettes over a roughly two-month period, the play offers humorous commentary on the lives of the four men and their chief caretaker, the social worker Jack Palmer, who is struggling with the decision of whether to move on to a new job. Hyperactive Arnold Wiggins is an obsessive compulsive, practically non-stop talker who works as a janitor at a movie theater. Norman Bulansky is a middle-aged man with mental disabilities whose job at a doughnut shop has contributed to a weight problem. His would-be girlfriend Sheila lives in a different group home.
Lucien P. Smith is an African-American man who faces extremely debilitating mental disorders. Despite the fact that he cannot read, he insists on checking out armloads of books from the library. The fourth member of the household is Barry Klemper, a 28-year-old man with schizophrenia who believes he is a pro golfer and gets highly agitated over small things. A turning point in the play revolves around a visit from Barry's long absent abusive father.
Called "a funny and touching play" by the Theater Mirror, "The Boys Next Door" was described in New York Times reviews as "emotionally appealing" enriched by "revealing, deeply sympathetic portraits." In a Times review of the 1988-89 Studio Theater production in New York, critic Leah D. Frank wrote that "the play offers us a chance to see the lives of people who are struggling to get along and who are, in that respect, not all that much different from the rest of us."
The cast of "The Boys Next Door" features HTC veterans Matt Conlon as Arnold Wiggins and Jessica Howard as Sheila. Scott Hofer plays Norman Bulansky, Dorian M. O'Brien is Lucien P. Smith, and Spencer Scott has the role of Barry Klemper. Social worker Jack Palmer is played by Paul Velutis.
"The Boys Next Door" is playwright Tom Griffin's most successful work; in 1989 it was the most produced play in America. Other plays by Griffin include: "Amateurs"; "Einstein and The Polar Bear"; "Pasta" and "Mrs. Sedgewick's Head."
HTC board vice president Ed Brennan directs. Set design is by Sean Marbury; lighting design by Sebastian Paczynski; and costumes by Teresa Lebrun.
"The Boys Next Door" runs at the Quogue Community Hall from March 22 to April 8 with shows on Thursdays and Fridays at 7, Saturdays at 8 and Sundays at 2:30.
There will be no performance on Easter Sunday, April 1. On Saturday, March 31, there will be two performances: at 2:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. Also, following its successful introduction last year, an additional matinee performance will be offered during the final weekend of the production, on Saturday, April 7, prior to the regular 8 p.m. performance that evening.
The Hampton Theatre Company will again be offering special dinner and theater packages in collaboration with the Westhampton, Southampton, Hampton Bays and Quogue libraries. Offered in association with the Quogue Club at the Hallock House, there will also be a special lunch and theater package available for the Saturday matinee on April 7. For information about all packages and available discounts, visit www.hamptontheatre.org or email email@example.com. Additional information about library dinner and theater packages is also available through the libraries.
Photo Credit: Tom Kochie