BILOXI BLUES by Neil Simon

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Twenty-five years ago, I sat in a rehearsal hall on Lower Broadway with Neil Simon. We were about to begin rehearsals for the national tour of Biloxi Blues, and I was a young theatre artist who had just served a stint as a stage manager for the Broadway production of the show. Mr. Simon didn't say much; he just added a word here and there or helped with a line reading. After all, the play had garnered Mr. Simon his first Tony Award, crowning an already-heralded career as the number-one Broadway writer of all time, so the play needed little work.

I remember very clearly what Gene Saks, the Tony Award-winning director of the Broadway show, then guiding the upcoming tour, said about the play: "This is not an Army comedy." Those six words burned into my consciousness, and whenever I think of Mr. Simon's work, I remember this sage advice.

Biloxi Blues is a comedy about young men going off to war. These men are universal soldiers facing the same fears, anxieties, and loneliness that grip all young recruits about to encounter the ultimate test of combat. Mr. Simon brings his great sense of humor and humanity to every word of this magnificent play.

Years later, when I was directing another of Mr. Simon's plays, Broadway Bound, for Montana Rep, I asked the playwright for advice as I approached the material. He advised me to "always play [the scenes] as real as possible and don't try to make them funny. The funny takes care of itself in the text." That, combined with Gene Saks's advice, has guided my direction of comedy ever since.

Biloxi Blues is the middle play of the autobiographical Simon trilogy. Beginning with Brighton Beach Memoirs and ending with Broadway Bound, Mr. Simon explores the life and times of Eugene Morris Jerome as he struggles to find an outlet for his talents and his way in the world. These three plays mark a high point in the career of a master writer. We are very fortunate and proud to once again bring Neil Simon to our national audience with one of his masterpieces, Biloxi Blues.

Greg Johnson, Artistic Director, Montana Repertory Theatre

Read more about Montana Rep and this tour of Biloxi Blues.
Press Kit (PDF)

Tour Itinerary (PDF)

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Now booking our 2014 National Tour of THE MIRACLE WORKER by William Gibson

Rena Shagan Associates, Inc.
16 A West 88th Street, New York, NY 10024
(212) 873-9700 / Fax: (212) 873-1708

Montana Repertory Theatre
The University of Montana, Missoula, MT 59812
(406) 243-6809 / Fax: (406) 243-5726