Set in the 1970s, The Prisoner of Second Avenue is a black comedy depicting a New York couple, Mel (Goldblum) and Edna Edison (Ruehl), enduring the trials and tribulations of city life. Mel is made redundant and the stress of an economic crisis and urban life pushes him into having a nervous breakdown. The family gathers to offer support, with Edna stoically bearing the burden of his disintegration and self-pity.
Ruehl’s films include Married to the Mob, Heartburn, Warriors, Slaves of New York, Last Action Hero and The Fisher King, for which she won her Academy Award, while her TV credits include Entourage, Widows and Frasier. In theatre, her Broadway credits include The American Plan, The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?, The Rose Tattoo and Neil Simon’s Lost in Yonkers, for which she appeared with Old Vic artistic director Kevin Spacey, won a Tony Award and went on to recreate her role in the 1993 film version.
The Prisoner of Second Avenue originally premiered on Broadway in 1971 and was subsequently made into a 1975 film starring Jack Lemmon and Anne Bancroft. It finally received its West End premiere in a 1999 production starring Richard Dreyfuss and Marsha Mason. This revival is designed by Rob Howell, with lighting by Neil Austin. It’s presented by the Old Vic Theatre Company/Old Vic Productions plc and Sonia Friedman Productions.
In other recent play casting updates:
Adapted by Mike Kenny from E Nesbit’s classic 1906 novel, The Railway Children was first presented by York Theatre Royal at the National Railway Museum in York in 2008, where it returned the following year. At Waterloo, the auditorium will be specially constructed with the audience seated either side of the original railway track. Damian Cruden directs.