Closed due to Covid 19
It was in 1923 when a director and cast of players were arrested for “Indecency” in New York. They were staging Shalom Ashe’s God of Vengeance in English at the Apollo Theater. We may know the Apollo mostly for jazz these days, and it is in Harlem. But, it was the venue for everything that might be staged in olden days. Ashe wrote the play in Yiddish and Got fun nekome (transliteration of the play’s name) had been produced in many cities in Europe including Germany, Russia and Poland. Those were days when performers like Molly Picon were working in the Yiddish theaters on the lower east side. But, the producer wanted to reach a larger audience; as the story was not just for those of the Jewish faith.
Mira Hirsch directed this one and it is deeply significant for her to do so; as when she went to stage it at the Jewish Theatre of the South at the JCC, there were folks who took affront and asked for it not to be done. But she did it! The story is a play within a play about how Ashe brings out these players as human beings, NOT just Jewish people. Yes, there is a hooker and a brothel owner, and yes two ladies actually embrace and kiss on stage. McCarthy would have gone ape had he been around in those days.
The show runs almost 2 hours in one act, and Andrew Benator, Stephanie Friedman, Pamela Gold, Brian Kurlander, Clayton Landey, Christina Leidel and Brandon Michael Mayes pull it off with great aplomb. There is some Klezmer music provided by Chip Epsten, Eric Fontaine and Rodger French with some additional playing by a few of the actors. Ricardo Aponté choreographed the dance moves, and there are some English language projected lines to help move the show along after each blink in time.
The old characterization of the typical Jewish family is that the parents want the son to become a lawyer or a doctor, and the daughter should marry well. The news today is that is not always the case. We still have people who are biased against those of other backgrounds, and as the French would say, the more things change the more they stay the same. People are people and Paula Vogel brought that into the spotlight when she wrote this play. This is a moving experience and well played. More info at TheatricalOutfit.org