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The Neil Simon Plays designer John Lee Beatty featured in the Daily News


‘Brighton Beach Memoirs’: backstage with designer who recreated Brooklyn on Broadway

By Joe Dziemianowicz

October 8, 2009


John Lee Beatty has made an illustrious career out of designing sets that look so real you could see yourself moving in after the show. Have the mail forwarded, call the man with van and you’re there.


So it goes for the cozy, if cramped Depression-era duplex in Brooklyn that’s home to the noisy Jerome family in “Brighton Beach Memoirs.”


The revival of Neil Simon’s 1983 autobiographical comedy stars “Roseanne” alum Laurie Metcalf as matriarch Kate Jerome. It’s now in previews for an Oct. 25 opening, and will run in repertory with the companion play “Broadway Bound” next month.


Standing in the set’s living room, Beatty sums up the appearance that director David Cromer wanted: “Nothing too yummy.” That makes sense. The period is late 1930s. Money is tight. Everyone is scraping by, making the most of the little they’ve got. Sounds a lot like 2009.


“The director wanted it to be real,” Beatty continues, “not something that looked like a delicious Saturday Evening Post cover. He wanted it filled with what real people would live with.”


The Tony-winning set designer began his research in April, when he visited Brighton Beach, eyes peeled for inspiration, camera in hand. He hit paydirt when he happened upon a home being remodeled. “There was a hole where the porch would have been,” says Beatty. “I had a great view to the past. I got lucky.”‘

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/arts/2009/10/08/2009-10-08_brighton_beach_memoirs_backstage_with_designer_who_recreated_brooklyn_on_brodawa.html#ixzz0TNcaHHMf




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