The first part of Neil Simon's semi-autobiographical "Eugene Trilogy" which was followed by Biloxi Blues (1988) and Broadway Bound (1992). All three films originated as plays and all had alliterative titles based on alliteration of the letters 'B' and 'Br'.
This film was made and released about three years after its source play of the same name by Neil Simon was first performed in 1983. The original Broadway production of "Brighton Beach Memoirs" opened at the Alvin Theater on 27th March 1983 and transferred to the 46th Street Theatre on 26th February 1985. The play ran for a total of 1299 performances closing on 11th May 1986. The play was nominated for three 1983 Tony Awards, Best Featured Actress in a Play (Elizabeth Franz) and two for Best Featured Actor - Zeljko Ivanek and Matthew Broderick, with Broderick being the only successful actor to win. The New York Drama Critics Circle awarded "Brighton Beach Memoirs" the Best Play of its season. The play's setting is described in its intro as being "Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, New York. September, late 1930s".
In an interview with Ron Base of "The Toronto Star' published on 27th December 1986, writer Neil Simon said: "'Brighton Beach' was going to be another singular play....Again, I still hadn't thought of a trilogy. But I decided to take Eugene the next step chronologically in my life, which was the army. But even after I wrote 'Biloxi Blues', I still didn't think about a sequel, because if it turned out to be a bomb, why would one want to do a sequel? So I just waited to see what would happen. Well, Biloxi enjoyed enormous success, and I thought of a third part".
When Neil Simon's "Brighton Beach Memoirs" play was launched on Broadway, Simon had another play, "Actors and Actresses" playing in an out-of-town tryout and a penned feature film Max Dugan Returns (1983) in national cinema release.
Though actor Matthew Broderick won a Tony Award for playing Eugene Morris Jerome on Broadway, he was not available for the film version of Brighton Beach Memoirs (1986) (due to his commitment on Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)). Broderick later played Eugene in the film version of the sequel Biloxi Blues (1988). Jonathan Silverman, who plays Eugene in this film, had taken over the role for Broderick in the Broadway runs of "Brighton Beach Memoirs" and "Biloxi Blues." Silverman later played Eugene in the original Broadway production of "Broadway Bound," the third play in the trilogy. For the tele-movie Broadway Bound (1992), Silverman played Stanley Jerome, Eugene's older brother, while Corey Parker played Eugene. Parker had also played Arnold Epstein, an Army buddy of Eugene's, alongside Broderick, in the film version of Biloxi Blues (1988).