a painting of two people walking down a street
Waterfront Playhouse presents Neil Simon’s ‘Lost in Yonkers’ April 24 to May 11. Visit for tickets and information. WIKIPEDIA/Contributed

The Waterfront Playhouse, now in its 85th season in Key West, will present Neil Simon’s “Lost in Yonkers” April 24 to May 11.

The play is one of Simon’s classics, as it showcases his talent for dramatic and comedic narratives and dialogue. The play was later adapted into a film starring Richard Dreyfuss.

In Brooklyn in 1942, Evelyn Kurnitz has just died following a lengthy illness. Her husband, Eddie Kurnitz, needs to take a job as a traveling salesman to pay the medical bills incurred, so he decides to ask his stern and straight-talking mother (from whom he is slightly estranged) if his two early-teen sons, Jay and Arty (whom she insists on calling by their full given names, Jacob and Arthur, which she pronounces “Yakob” and “Artur”), can live with her and their Aunt Bella Kurnitz in Yonkers. She refuses. After a threat by Bella, she lets them stay without ever saying they could stay. Despite their grandmother owning and operating a candy store, Jay and Arty do not like their new living situation. They are afraid of their grandmother and find it difficult to relate to their crazy Aunt Bella, whose slow mental state is manifested by perpetual excitability and a short attention span, which outwardly comes across as a childlike demeanor.

Into their collective lives returns one of Eddie and Bella’s other siblings, Louie Kurnitz, a henchman for some gangsters. He is hiding out from Hollywood Harry, who wants what Louie stole and is hiding in his small black bag. Jay and Arty’s mission becomes how to make money fast so that they can help their father and move back in together, which may entail stealing the $15,000 their grandmother has hidden somewhere. Bella’s mission is to find a way to tell the family that she wants to marry Johnny, her equally slow movie theater usher boyfriend; the two could also use $5,000 of Grandma’s hidden money to open their dream restaurant. And Louie’s mission is to survive the next couple of days.