|Hannah Weinraub as Nora glamming for the camera with sister Laurie (Meilin Hilton)|
PHOTO by Paul Manoian
Sisters can be best friends, but they can also be rivals for their parents’ attention and affection. This is especially true in Neil Simon’s Brighton Beach Memoirs, where teenage sisters Nora and Laurie struggle with the loss of their father, and vie for the approval of their widowed mother Blanche. In the Farmington Players production of Brighton Beach Memoirs, Hannah Weinraub plays Nora, who she describes as a “very ambitious, bright and mature 16 year-old girl who dreams of being a dancer on Broadway.” Like Hannah, Nora is “very close in age, has one sibling and shares similar dreams” of a theater career. Hannah says, “I enjoy so many things about playing this role. First off, Nora is incredibly dramatic. She spends a lot of time during the show getting emotional and crying. As an actress, crying on stage is always a blast.”
To relate to her character, Hannah has had to “draw from my own personal experiences of feeling like I’m not enough. It isn’t really fun to go back to those feelings, but it has helped me realize that everyone feels like that about themselves. It is our job to choose whether or not we believe that. Along with that, a relevant theme in Brighton Beach is inner peace.” Peace is often hard to come by in the Jerome family, with seven people – including four teenagers – living in cramped quarters under one roof. Hannah can relate to the fact that “everyone has family drama, and this play shows the inner workings of a family with quite a bit of it.” Director Maureen Mansfield echoes this theme: “No matter who you are or what your family is like, there is something about this show you can relate to. It will hit close to home and open your eyes as to what your family truly means to you. Families still worry about unemployment, war overseas and keeping a roof overhead. Puberty still hits, siblings still argue and families still support ... despite the setting, the issues are the same.”
Hannah knows audiences will love this show, saying, “I have never been apart of something so eye opening. Brighton Beach Memoirs shows audiences the true importance of being there for your family and also being there for yourself. Although there is a bit of serious material, the show is mostly a comedy with a dramatic flare. Honestly you’ll feel every emotion watching this show. Each character has a metamorphosis during the show. They each try to find their inner peace, which makes this show so extremely special.”
Hannah calls Farmington Hills home and discovered her love of performing with the entertainment group, The Earth Angels. She appeared in The Best Christmas Pageant Ever in 2016, and says, “I am so excited to be back on the Barn stage, especially with such a great group of people. Getting to know this cast and crew is an absolute joy.”
Brighton Beach Memoirs has 10 performances at Farmington Players Barn Theater from September 28 – October 13. The show is proudly sponsored by Mall Malisow & Cooney. Tickets are available online at farmingtonplayers.org or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling the Barn box office at 248-553-2955.