With a title like Bad Jews, one expects a Borscht Belt-style routine, perhaps from the mind of Jackie Mason, or a comedy involving cross-cultural shenanigans.
But instead it is a critically acclaimed play by Joshua Harmon that has become one of the most-produced plays in the country.
The play has its area premiere opening Stage West’s 37th season. It previews Thursday and Friday and opens Saturday for a monthlong run.
EVERYTHING IN THE PLAY I’VE HEARD TALKED ABOUT OVER A DINNER TABLE IN THE LAST YEAR.
Richard J. Allen
“It’s a vicious, angry comedy, but it’s also very beautiful and meaningful about how young people look at religion in America,” says Richard J. Allen, who is making his full-production directing debut at Stage West.
“Everything in the play I’ve heard talked about over a dinner table in the last year,” he says.
New York’s Roundabout Theatre Company premiered the play in 2013 at the Laura Pels Theatre, and it earned several critics’ and off-Broadway nods for best play. It went on to successful runs in London and around the U.S.
Stage West’s production stars Kelsey Milbourn, Garret Storms, Matthew Grondin and Alexandra Lawrence.
The story brings together three 20-something Jewish cousins at their grandfather’s funeral, with a similarly aged gentile in the mix. They argue over a specific heirloom, which leads to discussions about the clashing of tradition and modernity, a common generational debate that happens with every religion and culture.