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Setting the Scene
All action takes place in home of Joe Benjamin on the north shore of Long Island, NY.
Act I Scene I: Midnight
Act I Scene II: Two weeks later
Act II Scene I: A few days later
Theatre and Performance Studies
La Salle University, "God's Favorite" (2010). The Masque Programs. 127.
Welcome to The Masque's spring production of God's Favorite. Written by Neil Simon, we hope you will enjoy the hilarity, "ooo's" and "ahh's" in this high-energy piece. Our 80th season has run the gamete of genres, from a classic to a dark comedy that bent the rules. Now we bring you a bit of both, adding comedic and religious elements.
While God's Favorite is not one of Neil Simon's better-known productions (you may be more familiar with shows like Rumors, The Odd Couple or The Good Doctor), I like to think of it as one of his best-kept secrets. It tells the story of a wealthy Long Island family suddenly visited by a "messenger of God" and sent into spiral of misfortune, as the main character, Joe, refuses to abandon his religious identity.
The Masque is excited to bring in a new director who matches the upbeat rhythm of the show. Neill Hartley has taught theater at several colleges in the area. We are happy to be a new addition to his repertoire, and vice versa. His positive attitude and teaching style has contributed to the great success you are about to witness.
Much gratitude and thanks go out to all of the departments at La Salle that play a part in making this production possible: Administrative Services, University Communications, The Dean of Students Office, Physical Facilities, The Programming Center, and Multimedia Services. I would also like to thank our faculty advisor, Dawn Wanner, for her devotion to our organization.
Thank you for your support of university art, and enjoy the show!
Producer and President
For over 40 years Neil Simon has written plays that have appealed to modern-day audiences. Along the way he has become the world's most successful commercial playwright by creating an unparalleled string of Broadway hits--at one point having four plays running at the same time. One of Simon's true strengths as a storyteller is his ability to capture the essence of human experience and relate it in such a way that it will resonate, not only with the current generation, but for generations to come.
Although not as well known as some of his bigger hits; God's Favorite is perhaps the best-known of several plays based on the story of Job (found in the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Old Testament). Audience members may recognize "the patience of Job" as a descriptive phrase, perhaps without even knowing the actual story. Although the play is not an accurate presentation of that story as found in the Bible, the theme is similar: God has his reasons for the trials that we are put through. We may not understand them, but his plan is for our betterment. Even though we may lose everything, we still have God.
It is the recognition and connection with our own lives that links us, as an audience, to Neil Simon's plays. We identify with the characters that he creates. They have our sympathy and make us laugh. Of Simon, actor Jack Lemon said, "Neil has the ability to write characters--even the leading characters that we're supposed to root for--that are absolutely flawed. They have foibles. They have faults. But, they are human beings. They are not all bad or all good; they are people we know."
God's Favorite ran on Broadway for 116 performances from December 1974 until March 1975, with Vincent Gardenia and Charles Nelson Reilly in the lead roles. It received a 1975 Tony award for best scenic design.