Oscar-winning American actress Mercedes Ruehl is to join Jeff Goldblum in the upcoming London production of Neil Simon’s comedy The Prisoner Of Second Avenue, which opens at the Vaudeville theatre in July.
Ruehl will play Edna Edison, the wife of Goldblum’s Mel, in Simon’s tale of a couple enduring the trials and tribulations of city life. When the stresses of being made redundant, economic crisis and urban living push Mel into a nervous breakdown, his family gathers in support, with Edna bearing the burden of his disintegration and self-pity.
Ruehl won both an Oscar and a Golden Globe for her performance as Anne Napolitano in Terry Gilliam’s The Fisher King, and has also appeared in films including Warriors, Big, Last Action Hero and Slaves Of New York. Her Broadway stage credits include The Goat Or Who Is Sylvia, Shadowbox, Woman Before A Glass and another Simon piece, Lost In Yonkers, in which she worked with Old Vic Artistic Director Kevin Spacey.
Ruehl is reunited with Spacey on this project as the Old Vic is co-producing the production with regular West End producer Sonia Friedman Productions.
Speaking about the opportunity to make her West End debut, Ruehl said: “I have wanted to work on the London stage for many years, but never dreamed I’d have the good luck to land there in the company of two old friends, Neil Simon and Kevin Spacey. In the early nineties we three collaborated on the Pulitzer Prize-winning Lost In Yonkers, and it is a joy to reunite with these lions, if not in winter, in the early autumn of our lives. (Make that late summer.) As for Jeff Goldblum, he is one of the few American actors who is both an extraordinary screen actor and a true animal of the stage. Also, he is a very funny man; I can tell from the cell phone messages he’s been leaving me.”
Spacey added: “We’re really excited to introduce one of Broadway’s greatest stars to London audiences. Mercedes and I played brother and sister in Neil Simon’s Lost In Yonkers back in 1991, so it’s great to get to welcome her to the Old Vic family. She is a wonderful actress and she and Jeff are a great pairing. They are dedicated and hard working disciples of the art of stagecraft.”
While the Old Vic is producing The Prisoner Of Second Avenue at the Vaudeville theatre, it will be hosting Sam Mendes’s Bridge Project at its famous Waterloo home. The transatlantic project, which last year brought The Cherry Orchard and The Winter’s Tale to London, this year offer two Shakespearean productions, As You Like It and The Tempest.