Meramec Theatre Presents “Brighton Beach Memoirs”

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

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Set designed for performances of "Brighton Beach Memoirs"

The Meramec Theatre will present “Brighton Beach Memoirs” Oct. 2-6 on campus, 11333 Big Bend Road. 

Performances are slated for 7:30 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, and 2 p.m. on Sunday. The Sunday performance will be sign interpreted for the deaf. All performances are free and open to the public. 

“Brighton Beach Memoirs” is a bittersweet glimpse into the life of Eugene Jerome, a young teenager in 1937 Brooklyn. The play, based on a memoir, shows the struggling Jewish family trying to make it in a tough world. 

The director of the production, Keith Oliver, says this play imparts a message of “the importance of family. In the end, all you have is each other.” 

The Jerome family has relatives who are fleeing the World War II-era German forces, which Oliver says is a concept that playgoers can relate to those seeking refuge in modern times. 

Oliver says that about half the cast is new, and that he enjoys the learning curve that comes with an unfamiliar cast. As director, Oliver helps to choreograph the scenes to make them look natural, and gives tips and advice to the actors. He first worked as an adjunct professor at Meramec in 2002, and came on full time in 2008. He has worked on more than 25 productions since joining the College. 

Kalen Riley, Meramec Theatre Club president, plays the role of Stanley, Eugene Jerome’s older brother. Riley is pleased with how the production has been progressing. 

“Things have been going really smoothly,” said the veteran of 11 Meramec Theatre productions. “We have a small cast with good chemistry, as well as a great director. It’s always nice to get to perform a classic – and practice my New York accent.” 

Riley agrees that the message of this play is one of family and getting through hard times. 

“Brighton Beach Memoirs” is one of two productions the theater will be putting on this semester. The second one, “Maple and Vine,” will be staged in late November. 

Seating for all performances is on a first-come, first-serve basis. For more information, call the box office at 314-984-7562.

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