The Racine Theatre Guild, 2519 Northwestern Ave., is opening its 81st season with Neil Simon’s Tony Award winning, semi-autobiographical play “Lost in Yonkers.”
The play was last produced at the Theatre Guild in 1995.
In the show, set in 1942, two young teens — Arty and Jay — are sent to live with their stern grandmother in Yonkers after the death of their mother. Their father, faced with piles of medical bills, goes on the road as a salesman.
Also in their grandmother’s household is childlike Aunt Bella and Uncle Louie, who works for local mobsters.
In their strange new world of Yonkers, the boys learn lessons about love, responsibility and the importance of family that will carry them into adulthood. The coming of age story “perfectly combines reality and comedy,” according to organizers.
Directed by Lisa Kornetsky, the cast features Jared Simonsen as Jay, Isaiah Dean as Arty, Ryan Simonsen as Eddie, Tina Paukstelis as Bella, Emily Mueller as Grandma Kurnitz, Matt Specht as Louie and Kate May as Gert.
Kornetsky retired in the spring of 2018 after more than 20 years as a professor in the Theatre Arts Department at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside.
The rest of this season’s lineup features:
Main Stage shows
When: Oct. 18-Nov. 3
Synopsis: A heavy snow has fallen upon Monkswell Manor, trapping a group of strangers inside, one of whom is a murderer. A policeman arrives, but before he can solve “whodunnit,” one of the guests is killed.
“The Wizard of Oz”
When: Dec. 13-22
Synopsis: When a twister sweeps Dorothy away over the rainbow to the magical land of Oz, she begins a journey down the Yellow Brick Road to get back home.
Along the way, she meets good and bad witches, animals that talk and scarecrows that walk. The 1939 film version is an American cinema classic.
“On Golden Pond”
When: Jan. 10-26
Synopsis: Ethel and Norman have spent every summer at their lake home on Golden Pond. With Norman’s failing memory and health, this year is blanketed in melancholy until he forms an unexpected bond with his future grandson.
“A Fox on the Fairway”
When: Feb. 21-March 8
Synopsis: Two rival country clubs are competing head-to-head in the annual Inter-club Golf Tournament. Madcap adventures ensue with mistaken identities, slamming doors and over-the-top romantic shenanigans in this farce by Ken Ludwig.
“Akeelah and the Bee”
When: March 27-April 5
Synopsis: Akeelah lives and breathes words and has a gift for spelling. Despite her mother’s objections, she studies and prepares for the National Spelling Bee with a determined spirit.
When: May 8-24
Synopsis: After discovering secrets from her mother’s past, Sophie invites three men who could all be her father to her wedding. Intertwined with ABBA’s timeless songs, the hit musical is a celebration of love, laughter, family and friendship.
Children’s Theatre shows
“The Rainbow Fish Musical”
When: Oct. 4-6
Synopsis: Dive under the sea and experience the animal kingdom in the big deep blue sea.
“Disney’s Sleeping Beauty”
When: Nov. 8-10
Synopsis: It’s Princess Aurora’s birthday, and three fairies must use their magic to save her from the spell of the evil sorceress.
“The Snow Queen”
When: Jan. 31-Feb. 2
Synopsis: Audience members will enter a wintry world where flowers sing, animals talk and riddles yearn to be solved.
When: March 13-15
Synopsis: Named “the best American children’s book of the past 200 years,” the beloved story “Charlotte’s Web” comes to life on stage, complete with a lovable pig and a wise spider.
Comedy Tonight shows
Who: Dobie Maxwell and Steve DeClark
When: Oct. 5
Synopsis: Maxwell and DeClark describe their performance as “a hilarious show about growing up in the ’70s and how times have changed.”
What: “Even More Holiday Tales with John McGivern”
When: Nov. 9
Synopsis: McGivern returns to serve up a steady, hilarious stream of holiday stories from his eastside of Milwaukee childhood.
What: “Moody McCarthy” featuring Dan Wilbur
When: Feb. 1
Synopsis: Moody’s material is described as “original but universal and smart without being trite.”
When: March 14
Synopsis: Audience members get involved with interactive improv games and skits as ComedySportz returns to the Racine Theatre Guild.
Spotlight Concert Series
What: “ ’S Wonderful: The Legend of Gershwin”
When: Oct. 12
Details: Beloved melodies will come to the stage in this celebration of all things Gershwin.
What: “The Golden Age of Broadway”
When: April 18
Details: Audience members will hear hit songs from the “golden age of Broadway.”