Hampton Theatre Company will present The Boys Next Door as the third play of the Company’s 2017-2018 season. This poignant comedy by Tom Griffin depicts four men with various mental disabilities living in a group home. The Boys Next Door will open at the Quogue Community Hall on Thursday, March 22 and can be seen through April 8.
“This moving comedy and drama of The Boys Next Door underscores the everyday things in life we take for granted. The characters will charm you with their antics and pull at your heartstrings,” said Terry Brennan of Hampton Theatre Company.
The play is comprised of brief vignettes over a roughly two-month period and offers humorous commentary on the lives of the four men and their chief caretaker, the social worker Jack Palmer, who is struggling with the decision of whether to move on to a new job. Arnold Wiggins is a hyperactive, obsessive compulsive, practically non-stop talker who works as a janitor at a movie theater. Norman Bulansky is a middle-aged man with mental disabilities whose job at a doughnut shop has contributed to a weight problem. His would-be girlfriend, Sheila, lives in a different group home.
Lucien P. Smith is an African-American man who faces extremely debilitating mental disorders. Despite the fact that he cannot read, he insists on checking out armloads of books from the library. The fourth member of the household is Barry Klemper, a 28-year-old man with schizophrenia who believes he is a pro-golfer and gets highly agitated over small things. A turning point in the play revolves around a visit from Barry’s long absent abusive father.
The Boys Next Door was lauded as a “funny and touching play” by the Theater Mirror and was described in The New York Times as “emotionally appealing” enriched by “revealing, deeply sympathetic portraits.” In a Times review of the 1988-89 Studio Theater production in New York, critic Leah D. Frank wrote that “the play offers us a chance to see the lives of people who are struggling to get along and who are, in that respect, not all that much different from the rest of us.”
The cast of The Boys Next Door features HTC veterans Matt Conlon as Arnold Wiggins and Jessica Howard as Sheila. Scott Hofer plays Norman Bulansky, Dorian M. O’Brien is Lucien P. Smith, and Spencer Scott plays Barry Klemper. Social worker Jack Palmer is played by Paul Velutis. The role of Barry’s father is played by Mike Boland. Two other HTC veterans, Catherine Maloney and Bob Kaplan, play three roles each.
The Boys Next Door is Tom Griffin’s most successful work and was the most produced play in America in 1989. Other plays by Griffin include: Amateurs, Einstein and The Polar Bear, Pasta and Mrs. Sedgewick’s Head.
HTC board vice president Ed Brennan directs. Set design is by Sean Marbury; lighting design by Sebastian Paczynski; and costumes by Teresa Lebrun.
Shows are on Thursdays and Fridays at 7 p.m., Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. Tickets range from $10 to $30.
The Quogue Community Hall is located at 125 Jessup Avenue in Quogue. For more information and to buy tickets, call 866-811-4111 or visit web.ovationtix.com.