CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., March 19, 2008 — Southeast Missouri State University’s Department of Theatre and Dance presents Neil Simon’s Tony Award-winning smash-hit comedy, “Biloxi Blues,” at 7:30 p.m. April 10-12 and April 18-19 and at 2 p.m. April 20 at the River Campus.
Simon is considered by many to be America’s greatest playwright, and “Biloxi Blues” represents the second chapter in what is known as his “Eugene Trilogy”–the first being “Brighton Beach Memoirs” and the third being “Broadway Bound.” The story centers around Eugene Morris Jerome, a 20-year-old “Brooklynite,” who enlists in the U.S. Army during World War II and is sent to Biloxi, Miss., for basic training.
Jerome is quite literally a “fish out of water, a New York Jew living in the deep South. An aspiring writer, Jerome attempts to record his entire life, including his “coming of age” in the U.S. Army. While stationed in Biloxi, he falls in love, loses his virginity, deals with prejudices against his own Jewish culture, and learns to cope with a host of odd recruits, all while having to survive the antics of an eccentric drill sergeant.
In “Biloxi Blues,” Simon has given us a romantic vision that captures the ingenuousness of America in the 1940s, a time when the country had wide eyes, rosy cheeks and a good cause. “It was one of your better wars,” recalls Jerome. “We like the songs. We like the uniforms. We like that everybody liked us.”
“Biloxi Blues” realistically and comically showcases what soldiers have known for years: basic training is more of a shock to recruits than their later army experiences because new soldiers are completely unprepared for the unrelenting discipline and harassment.
“Biloxi Blues’ is being presented in the Donald C. Bedell Performance Hall in the Cultural Arts Center on the River Campus. Directed by Robert W. Dillon, Jr., the production features an extremely talented cast including: Mark Reichard (Eugene Morris Jerome); Johnathan Gutowsky (Arnold Epstein); Scott Hamann (Sgt. Merwin J. Toomey); Trevor Kettelkamp (Roy Selridge); Jeff Holtmeier (Joseph Wykowski); Charles Davis (Don Carney); Kyle Johnson (James Hennesey); Jennifer Kaesheimer, (Rowena); and Hannah Bagnall (Daisy Hannigan). This production of “Biloxi Blues” contains smoking, adult language and content.
May be purchased by contacting the River Campus Box Office, located in the Cultural Arts Center, 518 S. Fountain St., weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., or by calling (573) 651–2265. Tickets may also be purchased online at metrotix.com, keyword “biloxi” or by calling toll free: 800-293-5949.