Ten essential plays by Neil Simon, one of the world’s most celebrated, translated, and widely performed playwrights.
Barefoot in the Park: Newlyweds move into a new apartment with no furniture, the wrong paint, a leaking skylight, and wacky neighbors! A classic comedy! Performed by Laura Linney, Eric Stoltz, et al.
The Odd Couple: Two legendarily mismatched roommates bring down the house in this classic comedy by America’s most successful playwright. Performed by Dan Castellaneta, Nathan Lane, et al.
Plaza Suite: This hilarious comedy follows three brief encounters in the same suite at the famed Plaza Hotel in New York City. Performed by Ed Asner, Richard Dreyfuss, et al.
The Prisoner of Second Avenue: Fast-moving dialog with nonstop Simon quips and jokes performed extremely well by two fine actors. Performed by Richard Dreyfuss, Marsha Mason, et al.
California Suite: Four couples separately inhabit the same Beverly Hills hotel suite, bringing along their problems, anxieties, and comical marital dilemmas. Performed by Dennis Boutsikaris, Bruce Davison, Marsha Mason, and Amy Pietz.
Chapter Two: Comedy and pathos mingle brilliantly in this portrait of a widowed novelist who fears he’ll never love again. Performed by David Dukes, Sharon Gless, Gates McFadden, and Grant Shaud.
Brighton Beach Memoirs: In Simon’s first installment of his darkly funny semiautobiographical Eugene Trilogy, we meet his family in 1930s Brooklyn. Performed by Jonathan Silverman, et al.
Biloxi Blues: The second hilarious installment of the trilogy follows a naïve Eugene Jerome through boot camp. Performed by Justine Bateman, et al.
Broadway Bound: In the final installment of the trilogy, Eugene and his brother, Stanley, pair up to break into the world of comedy writing. Performed by Dan Castellaneta, et al.
Lost in Yonkers: Set in Yonkers, New York, in 1942, two boys, aged 13 and 16, must spend one year with their austere and demanding grandmother. Performed by Dan Castellaneta, et al.
©2010 Neil Simon (P)2010 L.A. Theatre Works
I focus on fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, science, history, politics and read a lot. I try to review everything I read.
This collection includes ten plays by Neil Simon. All of these had good, if not quite great, production values. There were a few flubbed lines and some of the audio titles are messed up, but the acting and audio quality are generally superb. I really enjoyed a few of these plays, but most I found entertaining yet they left me wanting. Virtually all of these plays seemed to me to be about eighty five percent of a truly great play. They have great characters, dialog, humor, wit, timing, but they we lacking the essential meaning that makes a great play far more than entertainment.
I liked Prisoner of Second Avenue and Barefoot in the Park the best as, in addition to wonderful acting and characters, below the humor and plot there were undercurrents concerning desire and need that brings these plays to near greatness, yet even these left me desiring just a little something more.
The Odd Couple did not move me, but was the most entertaining of the rest of the bunch. It was quite funny and delightfully played.
The coming of age plays including Brighton Beach Memoirs, Biloxi Blues, Broadway Bound, and Lost in Yonkers are all quite good with great characters, lots of laughs and
some poignancy, but were just good entertainment.
The Suite plays Plaza Suite and California Suite are a bunch of short scenes set in hotels. These were my least favorite plays in this collection as they didn't really take me anywhere.
Overall this is a good collection of plays that I am glad to have listened to, but this is not a collection I will listen to again and again.
I learned how lucky I am to be living in the "Media Age" of 2014 with so much good material at my fingertips. What was considered good stuff in the 1960s and 1970s when I was a kid now seems weak and barely interesting. There are a few of Neil Simon's plays I would listen to again, but I'd be in no hurry. Want good, old comedy? Try Moliere!
LA TheaterWorks does a good job casting and directing these radio performances. I just wish the material was better.
Audible could at least have listed the plays in the order they appear in the audiobook. There is no way I could jump around to find my remembered favorites. Helping readers navigate within books is something Audible is VERY POOR at and SHOULD IMPROVE, as I have commented several times already.
A lover of thrillers and enthralling stories told by dramatic and well read narrators.
A wonderful set of performances.
The time period in which each was set and the wonderful performances
Each was genuine, and made the time fly by
In Brighton Beach, Brooklyn NY...
I'm only done with the part 1 of 3 and I am hating the fact it will end in some certain point. I'm not usually into theatre but this kept me glued. Characters were so well played with Neil's life stories. Totally worth the credit!
What a treat! Neil Simon's masterpieces performed by great actors,most of whom have acted in his plays on stage, screen, or both. If you like great comedy leavened with some dark undertones, you will love this collection. His autobiographical trilogy is here, the Odd Couple, Barefoot in the Park, and more. My favorite actor, Richard Dreyfuss, is marvelous (if you have ever seen the Goodbye Girl you know why) and so is his costar from that film, Marsha Mason, who performs in a few of these plays. There is also some lovely commentary after a few of the plays which enriched my understanding of Simon's contributions to American theater. Perhaps the only down side is that at times the audio is hard to pick up, and too, some of the material is a little dated. But if you like wit, and if you're in the mood for some nostalgia, pick this one up. There are very few playwrights in American theater who had as many hits.
First, the plays are in alphabetical order as opposed to production/written order. That's a bit confusing if you're going to listen to the whole 'book' because a few of these plays are parts of a series, and the first part is not the first one you'll come to. Second, these are pretty dated. I actually enjoyed the first play, Barefoot In The Park, but not really any of the others that I listened to. I put up with a couple of more and finally skipped until I got to the Odd Couple, and listened to that for a while before I decided I wasn't having any fun. And quit. Maybe I'll go back to it someday but probably not. The performances were good.
"Great story lines, variable sound quality"
Neil Simons's plays are well known, a mixture of humour and heart-break. It's odd that LA Theatre Works allows the players' voices to be inaudible at times. Enjoy!
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