“Lost in Yonkers” Premiere


Sophie Burke, Contributing Reporter

 As the cast of “Lost in Yonkers” stood onstage for curtain call on the night of Saturday, Sept. 28, members of the audience began to stand. The sound of applause and cheering only grew louder as the actors began making their way off of the stage. 

     This moment, this standing ovation, was the product of many nights of hard work from cast and crew alike. 

     Set in 1942, “Lost in Yonkers” follows the story of two brothers left to live with their strict grandmother while their father sells scrap iron to pay off a debt owed to a loan shark in New York. The show opened on Sept. 26 in the Arkansas Hall studio theatre. 

     Ethan Schmidt, a freshman double majoring in theatre and mass media communication, portrays the boys’ father, Eddie. Although Schmidt plays an adult, he thinks that his character’s struggles resonate with the teenagers and young adults of today. 

     “There’s this heavy clash between [Eddie] and the mother,” Schmidt said. “I think that conflict is something that certainly resonates with me, and I think it resonates with a lot of teenagers who have those same conflicts with their parents.“

     Family is a very important theme of the show, according to theatre senior Adrian Hinojosa. Hinojosa’s character, Louie, is the mobster uncle of the two main characters. Louie is a bag man for the mob, which means he is very paranoid and often unstable. 

     At one point in the show, he yells at his nephews for wanting to help him with his “little black satchel” and proceeds to joke around with them seconds later. This very scene caused two young women in the front row during the Sept. 28 performance to watch Hinojosa with eyes wide and mouths agape. 

     The switch between humorous uncle and hardened gangster occurs multiple times throughout the play, and, at least to those audience members, it was just as shocking each time. This character was difficult for Hinojosa to connect to, but thinking about his own family made it easier. 

     “Where I started to find the funnel for character development from Adrian to Louie was the love that [Louie] has for his family,” Hinojosa said. “I just have my mother and my sister with me, and it was really easy for me to connect the love I have for them with the love Louie has for his family members in the show.”

     The true meaning of “Lost in Yonkers” is that everybody can be “lost”, according to both Hinojosa and Schmidt. This is exhibited by different characters in the play. Aunt Bella, played by freshman theatre major Natalie Gray, is prone to getting lost around the city. 

     The main characters, Artie (played by junior vocal performance major Cecil Nicholson) and Jay (played by freshman theatre major Camden Keech) lost their mother. Louie (Hinojosa), is trying to “lose” the mob by evading men that seem to be particularly interested in him. Hinojosa believes that the theme of being “lost” is actually something that will give the audience hope.

     “Being lost doesn’t have to be a state of mind that you carry with you forever,” Hinojosa said. “You can always find something – maybe it’s not what you wanted – but being lost doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing.”