Biloxi Blues

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For the article about the film based on this play, see Biloxi Blues (film).
Biloxi Blues
Written by Neil Simon
Characters Arnold Epstein
Eugene Morris Jerome
Rowena
Daisy Hannigan
Joseph Wykowski
Don Carney
Sgt. Merwin J. Toomey
James Hennesey
Roy Selridge
Date premiered December 8, 1984
Place premiered Ahmanson Theatre, Los Angeles
Original language English
Series Eugene Trilogy:
Brighton Beach Memoirs
Biloxi Blues
Broadway Bound
Subject A Jewish boy from Brooklyn undergoes basic Army training in the Deep South
Genre Comedy
Setting Biloxi, Mississippi, 1943
IBDB profile

Biloxi Blues is a semi-autobiographical play by Neil Simon. It portrays the conflict of Sergeant Merwin J. Toomey and Arnold Epstein, one of many privates enlisted in the military stationed in Biloxi, Mississippi, seen through the eyes of Eugene Jerome, one of the other soldiers. This play is the second chapter in what is known as his Eugene trilogy, following Brighton Beach Memoirs and preceding Broadway Bound, and is the only one in which Eugene is not the central character. The play won the Tony Award for Best Play, and Barry Miller won a Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play for his performance as Arnold Epstein.

Plot overview[edit]

The story begins 20-year-old Eugene Morris Jerome from Brooklyn, who is drafted into the United States Army during World War II and is sent to Biloxi, Mississippi, for basic training. There he meets a diverse assortment of soldiers, including the gentle intelligent Arnold Epstein, who is the play's central figure. The piece portrays Epstein's struggle for power with middle-aged, hard-drinking platoon leader Sergeant Merwin J. Toomey. In the play's most memorable scene, Epstein manages to force Toomey to perform two-hundred pushups in front of the platoon.

Production[edit]

Biloxi Blues had its world premiere at the Ahmanson Theatre, Los Angeles, California, running from December 8, 1984 to February 2, 1985.[1]

Biloxi Blues opened on Broadway at the Neil Simon Theatre on March 28, 1985 and closed on June 28, 1986 after 524 performances and 12 previews. Directed by Gene Saks, the cast starred Barry Miller as Arnold and Matthew Broderick as Eugene. Scenic Design was by David Mitchell, costume design by Ann Roth, and lighting design by Tharon Musser. Emanuel Azenberg served as producer in association with Center Theatre Group/Ahmanson Theatre.[2][3]

Opening cast[edit]

Sources:Internet Broadway Database;[2] The New York Times[3]

Notable replacements[edit]

Matthew Broderick was succeeded by Bruce Norris, Zach Galligan, William Ragsdale, and Jonathan Silverman. Jamey Sheridan replaced William Sadler as Sgt. Toomey.

Response[edit]

Frank Rich wrote: "Besides being extremely funny, Biloxi Blues is Mr. Simon's first serious attempt to examine his conscience as an artist and a Jew."[4]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Source: Tony Awards at BroadwayWorld[5]

Film adaptation[edit]

A 1988 film adaptation was directed by Mike Nichols. The cast starred Broderick as Eugene, with Christopher Walken (Sgt. Toomey), Matt Mulhern (Wykowski), Corey Parker (Epstein), Markus Flanagan (Selridge), Casey Siemaszko (Carney) and Penelope Ann Miller (Daisy).[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Ahmanson Production History" centertheatregroup.org (webcache), accessed April 12, 2012
  2. ^ a b "'Biloxi Blues'" Internet Broadway Database, accessed April 12, 2012
  3. ^ a b Rich, Frank. "Stage: 'Biloxi Blues,' Simon's New Comedy" The New York Times, March 29, 1985
  4. ^ Rich, Frank. "Stage View; Once Again, Theater Was A Place For Wonder" The New York Times, December 29, 1985
  5. ^ "Tony Awards, 1985" broadwayworld.com, accessed April 12, 2012
  6. ^ Ebert, Roger. Biloxi Blues suntimes.com, March 25, 1988

External links[edit]