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298 Kinderkamack Road, Oradell, NJ 07649


Bergen County Players, inc.


«  »June 2024


Coffee and Laughs Served up in '45 Seconds From Broadway' at Bergen County Players

By Jon Ciccarelli
New Jersery Stage

(ORADELL, NJ) -- Neil Simon is one of the most recognizable and prolific playwrights in that his work is not only continually produced but as a playwright is familiar to those who don't normally go to the theatre. His unique style of showcasing life in the "Big Apple" among its neurotic and sometimes crazy citizens ranging from the rapid fire one-liners to inspired moments of deep drama has left an indelible impression on American theater. It's this mix of New York theater types that is on display in the slice of life production "45 Seconds From Broadway" now running October 25-November 15 at the Bergen County Players from in Oradell, NJ.

The title refers to the amount of time it takes to walk to Broadway from the play's setting; a coffee shop inspired "The Edison Grill" formerly located in the lobby New York's Edison Hotel. The setting was a long-time establishment catering to the theater scene known for its walls of headshots, inexpensive prices and Matzoh ball soup.

The play follows comedian Mickey Fox (Barry Hirschberg), a Jackie Mason type who is a regular at the Manhattan eatery. Mickey is joined by an eclectic cast of characters that include Andrew Duncan, a British theater impresario, who tries to engage Mickey in making an appearance on the London stage but the project takes several weird turns, Solomon Mantutu (Sheldon Roberts) a down on his luck South African playwright looking to produce his play "Shadows of Africa", Megan (Melissa Miller) a fresh eyed young actress, regular theater goers Arleen (Michele Roth) and Cindy (Lori Milchman), Bessie (Doria E. Hillsman) a comedian looking to make the leap to Hollywood, Rayleen (Jeanmarie Garver-Gaydos) a regal socialite in search of an intricately double-brewed cup of tea served in fine china on white linen and her escort Charles (Ron Siclari). The clientele are served by the diner's owners, the tough Bernie (James Lesko and his wife Zelda (Dorcey Winant). Late in play Mickey's routine at the diner is interrupted by his older brother Harry (Glenn Woertz) who tries to get Mickey's help with getting his son into the business.

Director Iris Weinhouse is a fan of Simon's work but thought that she would never direct another one of his shows after working on his play "Fools". "I thought there were no more Neil Simon plays, [but], when I found '45 Seconds From Broadway', I jumped at the chance to direct it. To me the characters he's put together in the coffee shop, you can only find in New York. It's fun to direct all these different roles and I know it is fun for the actors as well," she said.

"One of the things we did to get the theatrical flavor was to replicate the old Edison Grill as faithfully as possible. You will see theatrical posters on the wall as well as all those headshots of actors. Nowhere else would you have headshots as wallpaper (so to speak). I needed to find actors who could portray these New York 'types' and be able to do various accents and luckily I found them," Weinhouse added.

More showcasing the rich variety of people that permeate the New York City theater scene than a plot driven show, "45 Seconds From Broadway", is Simon's loving homage to the people he worked with and the city he's called home all his life but delivered with his signature mix of comedy and pathos.

Weinhouse added on Simon enduring popularity, "Neil Simon's appeal lies in the fact that he uses real life situations and imbues it with humor. In a line from the play he says 'Life is funny not jokes'. Another playwright would dwell on the dark side of life but not Simon and he gets the same point across – interaction of people. Audiences enjoy his humor and his approach and they come knowing they will have a good time."

About Bergen County Players
The Bergen County Players has been continuously presenting shows for over 80 yrs. It is a volunteer organization and we have a membership of over 300 who participate in all aspects of the theater not just acting or directing. We have producers, costumers, makeup people, those who design and run lights and sound, handle publicity, marketing and photography and even someone who will take over making sure are building is kept in shape. So anyone who wants to join can do many jobs in the theater without ever stepping out on stage. Since that very first meeting in a back room 80-plus years ago, the Bergen County Players has welcomed hundreds of thousands of patrons through its doors to experience the joy of live theater, some for the very first time.  The theater played early host to such later luminaries as John Travolta, Robert Sean Leonard and Beth Fowler.


Saturday - October 25, 2014 8:00 PM
Sunday - October 26, 2014 2:00 PM
Saturday - November 1, 2014 8:00 PM
Sunday - November 2, 2014 2:00 PM
Friday - November 7, 2014 8:00 PM 
Saturday - November 8, 2014 8:00 PM
Sunday - November 9, 2014 2:00 PM
Friday - November 14, 2014 8:00 PM
Saturday - November 15, 2014 8:00 PM

Note the Friday 10/31 show has been cancelled. The Q & A session for that evening will be rescheduled to Friday, 11/7

$21 for Friday and Saturday shows and $17 for Sunday shows.

Tickets can be purchased here at their site here: www.bcplayers.org or by calling our Box Office at (201) 261-4200

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