CurtainUp
CurtainUp

The Internet Theater Magazine of Reviews, Features, Annotated Listings
www.curtainup.com


HOME PAGE

SITE GUIDE

SEARCH

REVIEWS

REVIEW ARCHIVES

ADVERTISING AT CURTAINUP

FEATURES

NEWS
Etcetera and
Short Term Listings


LISTINGS
Broadway
Off-Broadway

NYC Restaurants

BOOKS and CDs

OTHER PLACES
Berkshires
London
California
DC
Philadelphia
Elsewhere

QUOTES

On TKTS

PLAYWRIGHTS' ALBUMS

LETTERS TO EDITOR

FILM

LINKS

MISCELLANEOUS
Free Updates
Masthead
Writing for Us

A CurtainUp Review
High Holy Days


We're here for the six million. . . <— Nathan, explaining why the family is stuck in a Goyim-packed suburb:
A toxic time capsule, Alan Grossí wrenching, very personal story of a Jewish family breaking down (and up) during Rosh Hashanah is set in the fateful fall of 1963 in Iroquois, a northern Chicago suburb. Thereís nothing nostalgic about the wrenching revelations that make this much more a "sittrag" than a sitcom.

The authorís surrogate is Billy Roman (plump and plucky Max Zuppa), a slightly stuttering daydreamer afraid to read the Torah for his Bar Mitzvah and obsessed with joining a different tribe— any one thatís native American. His tough-loving mom (Rengin Altay, giving and getting guilt galore), worries in all directions. His discouraging dad (Keith Kupferer, beset and besotted) demands that his sons respect his sacrifice, even as he questions the point. Finally, supposedly college-bound Rob (Ian Paul Custer) prefers to sing folk songs in California, not pursue a degree in Bloomington, Indiana. He refuses to rot in their self-made ghetto.

This sure sounds familiar as in Awake and Sing (and barely skirts some Deja Jew stereotypes), but whatís astonishing is the dramaís refusal to resolve the action or reconcile the characters. As uncompromising as the script, Steven Robmanís staging shows how the combination of a high holiday and a major rite of passage brings out the very worst in a family that already feels cultural

ly isolated. A kind of Jewish ďGlass Menagerie or Dancing at Lughnasa, High Holidays is a bittersweet remembrance of a clan on the skids, finally together in order to fall apart forever. It takes nerve to write about so much dirty laundry and unpackaged baggage---and courage to produce a play that will alienate its core audience and, despite its universality, will no doubt be accused of betraying its minority.

High Holidays By Alan Gross
Directed by Steven Robman Cast: Max Zuppa (Billy), Ian Paul Custer (Rob), Rengin Altay (Essie) and Keith Kupferer (Nate)
Running time: Approximately two hours and 30 minutes, including one 15-minute intermission. Goodman Theatre 170 N. Dearborn (312) 443-3800 or www.goodmantheatre.org
From 11/01/09; opens 11/09/09; closing 11/29/09
Tickets: $15-$40
Reviewed by Lawrence Bommer




CurtainUp's Annotated List of Chicago Theaters


Guide to links to help Chicago visitors and locals alike find what to do, where to stay and eat.


Chicago Subway Finder & Other Information


broadwaynewyork.com


The Broadway Theatre Archive>


amazon



©Copyright 2009, Elyse Sommer.
Information from this site may not be reproduced in print or online without specific permission from esommer@curtainup.com