ANNIE KORZEN, RON ORBACH, DEEDEE RESCHER & CAROLE ITA WHITE
SET TO JOIN JASON ALEXANDER AND GINA HECHT IN
THE PRISONER OF SECOND AVENUE
BY NEIL SIMON
DIRECTED BY GLENN CASALE
PERFORMANCES BEGIN APRIL 21 AT THE EL PORTAL THEATRE
OPENS SATURDAY, APRIL 23 FOR THREE WEEKS ONLY
Actors Annie Korzen, Ron Orbach, DeeDee Rescher, and Carol Ita White will join stars Jason Alexander and Gina Hecht in the special three-week engagement of the comedy The Prisoner of Second Avenue by Neil Simon, it was announced today by producers Tom Brocato, Butterfield Road Productions in association with Charles A. Eisler, Producers Network. Directed by Glenn Casale, the production will begin performances at the El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood on April 21 for three weeks only. Opening is set for Saturday, April 23 at 8pm. Performances will continue through May 15.
Annie Korzen has appeared in many films and on television, but she is perhaps best known for her two solo shows, Yenta Unplugged and The Yenta Cometh, both of which have enjoyed engagements in the United States, Europe, Australia, and Canada. Ron Orbach has been seen both on and off Broadway in productions such as Neil Simon’s Laughter on the 23rd Floor, Never Gonna Dance, and Chicago; Neil Simon’s Hotel Suite, Pal Joey (Encores!), and Harry Chapin: Lies and Legends. He has also made guest starring appearances on countless television series. DeeDee Rescher’s television credits include My Name Is Earl, Malcolm in the Middle, Friends, The Nanny, and Party of Five, among many others. Her local theatre credits include How The Other Half Loves (ICT in Long Beach), Red Herring, The Pursuit of Happiness, and The Underpants, all at the Laguna Playhouse, and El Grande de Coca Cola in New York City and The Pasadena Playhouse. Carole Ita White has appeared in many feature films, including Falling Down, Grand Canyon, The Fabulous Baker Boys, and The Witches of Eastwick, among others. Los Angeles stage work includes Jeannie Fitzpatrick Is Angry, Borderline, Equus, and The Seahorse.
The Prisoner of Second Avenue revolves around the escalating problems of a middle-aged couple living on Second Avenue on the Upper East Side of New York City. Mel Edison (portrayed by Alexander), has just lost his job after many years and now has to cope with being unemployed at middle age. The action occurs during an intense summer heat wave and a prolonged garbage strike, which just exacerbates Edison’s plight to no end as he and his wife Edna (Hecht) deal with noisy neighbors, loud sounds emanating from Manhattan streets, and even a robbery of their apartment in broad daylight. Mel eventually suffers a nervous breakdown from the whole affair, and it is up to the loving care of his brother Harry, his sisters and his wife Edna to bring Mel back to a firm reality. Neil Simon’s 1971 play walks a tightrope between comedy and drama in this bittersweet tale. The play is perhaps more relevant today than it was when it first debuted on Broadway 40 years ago.
The set design for The Prisoner of Second Avenue is by Stephen Gifford, lighting design is by Jared A. Sayeg, costume design is by Kate Bergh, and Philip G. Allen has joined the team as sound designer. The production stage manager is John Lovick. The Prisoner of Second Avenue is presented by special arrangement with Samuel French, Inc.
Jason Alexander is best known for his role as George Costanza on the television series Seinfeld, appearing on the sitcom from 1989 to 1998. He began his acting career on the New York stage, appearing in several Broadway plays and musicals, including Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along, Kander and Ebb’s The Rink, Rupert Holmes’ Accomplice, Neil Simon’s Broadway Bound, and Jerome Robbins’ Broadway, for which he won the 1989 Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical. Alexander appeared in the Los Angeles production of The Producers with Martin Short at the Pantages Theatre, and is currently the artistic director of the Reprise Theatre Company.
Gina Hecht has enjoyed a wide and varied career on stage, in film, and on television. In prior collaborations with director Glenn Casale, Gina appeared in productions of Wrestlers, Circle of Will, as well as in a production of Night Owls, winning Drama-Logue and LA Weekly Awards along the way. She has been in over a dozen films, including Night Shift (with Henry Winkler) and more recently Seven Pounds (with Will Smith). Television work includes recurring roles on Mork & Mindy, Heartbeat, Everything’s Relative, Life Goes On, The District, Any Day Now, Seinfeld, and Hung.
The Prisoner of Second Avenue will play two lower-priced preview performances on Thursday, April 21 and Friday, April 22 at 8pm, and opening night is set for Saturday, April 23 at 8:00. The regular performance schedule is Wednesday (except May 4) through Saturday at 8pm, Sunday at 7pm, with matinees on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday at 2pm. There will be two special performances on Tuesday, May 3 at 2pm and 8pm, and the three-week-only engagement will continue through Sunday, May 15. All preview seats are $40, and regular ticket prices range from $45 – $55, with a limited number of VIP seats available at $75 and $80, which include a post-performance meet-and-greet with Jason Alexander and a voucher for two drinks at intermission. To purchase tickets, visit www.elportaltheatre.com, or call (866) 811-4111 or (818) 508-4200. For group sales, call (818) 301-5181 or (818) 986-2908. Visit The Prisoner of Second Avenue on Facebook and follow us on twitter @prisoner2ndave.
The El Portal Theatre is located at 5269 Lankershim Boulevard in North Hollywood. Ample parking is available around the theatre.
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