Lost in Yonkers

Lost in Yonkers Study Guide

Lost in Yonkers is a play by Neil Simon, a highly acclaimed work that bridged his career into the 1990s and established his reputation as one of America’s major playwrights of the latter 20th century. In the 60s and 70s, Simon's reputation had been as a joke machine, writing hit Broadway comedies like Barefoot in the Park, The Odd Couple, Sweet Charity, Plaza Suite and his musical adaptation of the Oscar-winning film The Apartment, Promises, Promises.

Lost in Yonkers premiered at the Center for the Performing Arts in Winston-Salem, North Caroline in 1990. The next year, it opened on Broadway at the Richard Rodgers Theater and ran for 780 performances. The Broadway production was directed by Gene Zaks and starred Jamie Marsh, Irene Worth, Mercedes Ruehl, Danny Gerard, and Kevin Spacey. The play won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1991, and established Simon as a theatrical master of both comedy and drama.

The film won many Drama Desk awards as well as Tony Awards. It won Best Play, Best Actress (Mercedes Ruehl), Best Featured Actress (Irene Worth), and Best Featured Actor (Kevin Spacey). In 1993, the play was adapted into a film directed by Martha Coolidge, with Mercedes Ruehl and Irene Worth portraying the same roles they played in the play.