Saturday, June 20, 2009

The tagline for “Jewtopia,” a comedy hit for Arizona Onstage Productions, is “just Jew it.” To which we can add, after seeing last night’s opening performance, this show is “jewserving” of all the laughs it gets.

Every culture has its eccentricities and idiosyncrasies, to be sure, but playwriting buddies Brian Fogel and Sam Wolfson have piled on the Jewish quirks. Every line contains at least one joke, sometimes two or more. And for folks with the resources at hand, it would be a good idea to brush up on your Yiddish.
Members of the Tucson Jewish community filled the capacity audience in the Cabaret Theatre in the Temple of Music and Art, 330 S/. Scott Ave. They didn’t s top laughing, even as the gentiles were looking around wondering “What’s so funny about that”
If there is one element uniting everyone, regardless of religion, it is that all parents have the same concerns for their children. And all the kids – once they start dating – want to fall happily and hopelessly in love. Clearly it was never more apparent that the hopes and dreams all people share are far more numerous than the differences that keep them apart.
One of the running jokes in the two-act show, is that the gentile man Chris (Jay C. Cotner) wants to marry a nice Jewish girl so he will never have to make another decision for himself. But when he adds enthusiastically, “I love Jewish girls,” all the Jews onstage look at him sadly, shake their heads and ask “Why?”
Maybe you just have to be there.
Playing opposite Chris is Jacob Brown as Adam Lipschitz, a sad-eyed single man with no interest in being Jewish. But he desperately wants to meet someone, preferably a gentile girl with those uniquely gentile qualities. Though his parents would hate that idea.
“Jewtopia” opens at a Rocking Young Jewish Singles Mixer, where Adam looking somehow European and Chris looking decidedly Midwestern bump into each other. Traditionally wary, Adam keeps challenging Chris to prove he is Jewish. But after a lovely young Jewess (Jaimie Pruden) walks past Adam to hit on Chris, then Adam decides authenticity isn’t so important.
The two hungry bachelors decide to team up so both can get what they want most. Chris will introduce Adam to a Jewtopia of single women in exchange for Adam teaching Chris how to become such a good Jew even his potential in-laws will be convinced.

The demand for tickets has been so high, founding artistic director Kevin Johnson has added performances Saturday, June 27, at 2 p.m.; Thursday, July 2, at 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, July 5 at 6 p.m. A special July 4 performance begins at 6 p.m. with kosher Herbrew National hotdogs with all the kosher trimmings, soda and chips. During intermission kosher dessert and coffee will be served. All tickets for this Independence Day special are $20. Reservations are a must. For details,

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