If this was a bad review day, I suppose our box office could use a whole lot more of ’em! Because today was one of the highest grossing Review Days we’ve had in years. Well, maybe since FAMILY SECRETS. But we really did sell thousands of dollars of tickets today… It says something about the split personality of the DC theater town, doesn’t it? Or does it? That some could love this show and what it stands for, and others could turn their noses… One would think that our most catholic critics would have a wide enough aperture to let in the whole of a culture’s literature — that the antic might be celebrated even if it weren’t laced with bitchy irony but rather an Ashkenazi accented guffaw.
And I’m not convincing myself that I like this show — I really love its drive, its motor, its hi-bi-di-by-by get-up-and-go zest. Or as the yiddish would spin it, “Zetz!” But it ain’t for everyone. At least not all the critics. At least not here in DC. In New York, in a production that was different but none-that-much-more accomplished than this, she show itself (the very same show, same jokes, same lyrics, same rollicking tunes) earned raves that were to die for, and you can read them all over on our website.
Here are just a few to remind us that, hey, maybe DC’s got an issue…
“A masterpiece of mishegas that manages to be mindlessly entertaining and instructive at the same time. It’s intelligently insane and brilliantly inane.” – The Boston Globe, 1994
“Easily one of the most exuberant shows to hit New York since, well, since Fiddler on the Roof” – Backstage, 1994
“You don’t have to be Jewish to be charmed by the new musical Shlemiel the First, only human” – The Boston Herald, 1994
“Rollicking new klezmer musical…propulsively tuneful music…dazzling lyrics” – The New York Times, 1994
“Klezmer music wraps its sinuous delights around the comic genus of Isaac Bashevis Singer” – The San Francisco Examiner, 1996
“Busting its buttons with joy…fresh and elegant” – The New Yorker, 1994
So there we go. We had to share it. It’s not a stupid show. DC is warped sometime. Let’s see, and feel, a little more clearly. And generously.