Song & Stage

Hampton Theatre Company Showing ‘The Boys Next Door’ Through April 8

The Boys Next Door, a poignant comedy by Tom Griffin about four men with various mental disabilities living in a group home, opened last week, making it the third play of the Hampton Theatre Company’s (HTC) 2017–2018 season. It will run at the Quogue Community Hall through April 8.

In brief vignettes over a roughly two-month period, the play offers humorous commentary on the lives of the four men and their chief caretaker, the social worker Jack Palmer (Paul Velutis), who is struggling with the decision of whether or not to find a new job.

Hyperactive Arnold Wiggins (Matt Conlon) is an obsessive compulsive, practically non-stop talker who works as a janitor at a movie theater. Norman Bulansky (Scott Hofer) is a middle-aged man whose job at a doughnut shop has contributed to a weight problem. His would-be girlfriend Sheila (Jessica Howard) lives in a different group home.

Jessica Howard, Scott Hofer
Jessica Howard, Scott Hofer, Photo: Tom Kochie

Lucien P. Smith (Dorian M. O’Brien) is an illiterate African-American man who insists on checking out armloads of books from the library. The fourth member of the household is Barry Klemper (Spencer Scott), a 28-year-old man with schizophrenia who believes he is a pro golfer and gets highly agitated over the smallest things. A turning point in the play revolves around a visit from Barry’s long absent abusive father (Mike Boland).

The play features set design by Sean Marbury, lighting design by Sebastian Paczynski and costumes by Teresa Lebrun. HTC board vice president Ed Brennan directs. HTC veterans, Catherine Maloney and Bob Kaplan, play three minor roles each.

The Boys Next Door is playwright Tom Griffin’s most successful work; in 1989 it was the most produced play in America. Other plays by Griffin include: Amateurs, Einstein and The Polar Bear, Pasta and Mrs. Sedgewick’s Head.

Highly regarded, The Boys Next Door has been called “a funny and touching play” by the Theater Mirror and was described in New York Times reviews 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.”

Spencer Scott, Dorian M. O’Brien in
Spencer Scott, Dorian M. O’Brien, Photo: Tom Kochie

The Boys Next Door runs at the Quogue Community Hall on Thursdays and Fridays at 7 p.m., Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. through April 8. There will be no performance on Easter Sunday, April 1.

To reserve tickets, visit hamptontheatre.org, or call OvationTix at 1-866-811-4111.

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