Backstage Blog

Good Jew or Bad Jew?

Good Jew or Bad Jew? It’s a pretty good question and one that is not easy to answer. We asked our talented cast anyway and here is what they had to say. We asked a few other questions while we were at it!

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Danielle Frimer

Danielle Frimer

Are you a Good Jew or a Bad Jew? A medium Jew? Most of the Hebrew has left the ol’ noodle, and I only sporadically observe the holidays, but I like to think that some of the moral/ethical underpinnings of Judaism have made their way into my value system.

Who are your Jewish influences in the arts or theatre? To name a few…Deb Margolin, Tony Kushner, Tom Stoppard, Jill Soloway.

How does this family dynamic relate to your own life?  I relate to arguing as a way of expressing deep love, and to the familial grappling with questions of religious and cultural identity.

 

Josh Odsess-Rubin

Josh Odsess-Rubin

Josh Odsess-Rubin

Are you a Good Jew or Bad Jew? Definitely in a traditional sense am a “bad Jew” in that I almost never go to temple, I don’t fast when you should fast, or keep kosher or anything. But I like to think I’m an “okay Jew” in that I try to live my life by some key ideas like the golden rule, and Tikkun Olam, the Jewish concept of healing the world.

How does this family dynamic relate to your own life? I should remain vague to not get into trouble, but echoes of Bad Jews’ plot strongly reverberate on both sides of my family! Luckily, however, I get along very well with all my cousins, and personally have never had a crazy battle of wills like that between Daphna and Liam.

 

Katie Sapper

Katie Sapper

Katie Sapper

Are you a Good Jew or a Bad Jew?  I’m not Jewish but consider myself a “Good Jew” ally.

Who are your Jewish influences in the arts or theatre? I really admire the works of Tony Kushner. The dimension he brings to his characters are so grounded. I think he keeps such a fresh perspective and challenges his audiences. I’m also a big fan of Eve Ensler – her play Necessary Targets has a special place in my heart and I love her call to social justice.

How does this family dynamic relate to your own life?  Any family that deals with losing a loved one encounters those uncomfortable conversations about keepsakes and what tangible reminders are left behind can relate to this story, as well as anyone who’s ever been introduced to a significant other’s family and tries to make a good impression. That underlying tension and desire to be liked is very real.

Tom Zohar

Tom Zohar

Tom Zohar

Are you a Good Jew or Bad Jew? I don’t believe the distinction really exists. Technically some might say I’m a “Bad Jew” because I don’t keep kosher or observe the high holidays, I am not religious and I migrated away from the holy land when I was very young. But I am also a proponent of Jewish culture, I speak proudly on being a Jew and I am proud of my heritage. So who knows?

Who are your Jewish influences in the arts or theatre? Tony Kushner is a big influence, and his work always deals with themes of Jewish culture and heritage. Harvey Fierstein and “Torch Song Trilogy” made an impact on me as a gay Jew. And of course Fiddler on the Roof is a classic.

How does this family dynamic relate to your own life? There is a history of heated, loud and passionate people within my family and I can definitely see them reflected here. Jonah’s attempt to keep the peace while the others fight is something I can relate to within my own role in my family, especially following my parent’s divorce.

Good Jews runs now through Feb. 12, 2017. Buy tickets HERE.

Thoughts on The History Boys (as we go into previews)

It’s my day off. It’s raining outside. I feel cozy and happy and really excited for the week ahead– we’ve just finished teching The History Boys and I don’t think any of us could be happier with it.

Generally the whole rehearsal period seems now to have gone by so quickly… There was so much to learn and discover and figure out, and of course there still is, but as I look back on everything, I’ve been having so much fun I completely forgot how much work has gone into it. Through the French and the History of WWI and the songs and dances and subtext and blocking it really did all feel like playing… Playing with building blocks or clay and kinda just creating something along the way. I know that’s a very general way to describe a rehearsal process but it doesn’t always feel like that. This one did.

As for me, I love Posner. This isn’t a comment on my performance– there’s still so much to discover and figure out, and I’m incapable of observing myself like that even if I wanted to. No, I just love the words I’m given to say and the actions I’m given to do. Who else gets to sing Edith Piaf, quote Shakespeare, define words AND be utterly in love, all in the same play? And within moments of each other? And being in love in this play is incredibly easy. With this cast, you’re constantly surrounded with vitality and good energy, and you know you can’t fail because they’re all there to catch you, and you’re there to catch them. There really is a lot of love on that stage. Every time we run the show I feel us becoming more and more cohesive, and also more and more confident in our individuality. It’s awesome. This weekend especially we’ve gotten to a point where I find myself onstage so completely drawn in to what’s going on that I forget there’s any lines or acting involved. The actions and words just tumble out naturally. And I know the others would agree. This is an incredible ensemble Sean Murray has put together. I feel so lucky to be part of it.

Best of all, it’s FUN. This is a fun, fun, fun show to be in. Every moment is a treat. I don’t think there’s a single person in the ensemble who doesn’t enjoy every single moment they have on stage.

I think that, whatever happens, we have something very special in the works here.