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Hamptons Theater Review: "The Last Night Of Ballyhoo" At Bay Street In Sag Harbor

T.J. Clemente

Amanda Kristin Nichols and Ari Brand. (Photo: Lenny Stucker/lennystucker.com)

The Last Night of Ballyhoo, a play by Alfred Uhry, can currently be seen at Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor until Sunday, July 24th. It is riveting, polished theater with belly laughs and groans by the minute. The play is directed by Will Pomerantz, who moves around the play's characters magically across a top Broadway quality set. There is also a brilliant surprise scene that dazzles the audience.

The production is set in Atlanta in 1939. The actors' skills bring you right into the parlor of a wealthy Jewish family that consists of a widowed sister and her daughter, a widowed sister-in-law and her daughter and an unmarried brother. Not a conventional household. The elders are perhaps 45 to 50ish, while the two daughters are perhaps just 20. Included in the action are the two young Jewish men suitors of completely different backgrounds pursuing the two daughters. The play's focus zeros in on being Jewish in the USA before the Holocaust. There is a very real sense of pain in trying to assimilate but being different. A situation almost everyone deals with at some level in life.

The production is set in Atlanta in 1939. (Photo: Lenny Stucker/lennystucker.com)

The playwright manages to deal with serious issues with cunning wit and delicate sensitive moments that touched me and I believe the whole audience.

Both Ari Brand, who plays Joe Farkus, the hard-working young suitor, and Daniel Abeles, who plays Peachy Weil, the other suitor who is well-off and from a prestigious family, are both excellent.

The mothers are played by Dori Legg (Reba Freitag) and Ellen Harvey (Boo Levy). They both are genuine, and had me routing for them in their roles as good mothers.

John Hickok, who played the patriarch, Adolph Freitag, is wonderful. His delivery and timing is outstanding. In fact, on the Bay Street stage John Hickok is Adolph Freitag.

John Hickok, Dori Legg, Ellen Harvey, Erin Neufer, and Daniel Abeles. (Photo: Lenny Stucker/lennystucker.com)

As for the two most complicated roles of young Jewish girls entering society in Atlanta in 1939, Amanda Kristin Nichols, who plays Sunny Freitag, shines! However, in my opinion, it is Erin Neufer who captures the souls of the audience with her portrayal of Lala Levy, the awkward yet brilliantly aware daughter of Boo Levy. I think Erin Neufer steals the show with her performance.

So, don't miss your opportunity to see this highly entertaining show.

Tickets begin at $25.

Bay Street Theater is located at 1 Bay Street in Sag Harbor. For more information, call 631-725-9500 or visit www.baystreet.org.

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