As “The Four of Us” opens, Big “Zero” News!

from Monday’s VARIETY
‘Zero Hour’ transfers to Off Broadway
Mostel solo show scores open-ended run at DR2

“Zero Hour,” the well-received solo play about Zero Mostel, will transfer next month to the DR2 Theater for an open-ended Off Broadway run.

Helmed by Piper Laurie, “Zero” stars writer-performer Jim Brochu as late comedian/thesp and blacklisted McCarthy witchhunt target Mostel, who in the play is giving an interview in his painting studio in 1977.

Show has played both Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. Current run at Gotham’s Theater at St. Clement’s opened to strong reviews in November but must end its limited engagement Jan. 31.

Kurt Peterson and Edmund Gaynes produce the show in association with Peccadillo Theater Company. The open-ended DR2 run kicks off Feb. 24.

Read the full article here.


Back and Forth and Back (and Forth) on the Bus: Judy Gold (with update!), Zero Hour (with video), and Yonkers (with love) Keeps Rolling In

So we closed LOST IN YONKERS back on Sunday. On Monday, headed up to New York Theatre Workshop to see an afternoon reading of an even-more improved version of BENEDICTUS, the Motti Lerner script based on his collaboration with Iranian theater artists Mahmood Karimi-Hakak and Torange Yeghiazarian. It was wonderful to meet with Motti over dinner after and talk about his new project, a potential collaboration involving Theater J and one of Israel’s most distinguished flagship institutions. It’s too soon to share more details. Suffice to say, the collaboration lives on as we continue to support this brave and prolific Israeli writer on new works as well as pushing recently produced work onto next productions in New York and beyond.

After returning to DC Tuesday morning for IN DARFUR production meetings and some catch up time with my family, I was back on the bus to New York on Wednesday for the start of rehearsals for Judy Gold’s new show. Judy’s collaborator on 25 QUESTIONS FOR A JEWISH MOTHER, Kate Moira Ryan, has been brought into the collaborative process and has helped to focus, punch, and make more poignant the journey Judy goes on in her latest iteration of MOMMY QUEEREST (now with the additional sub-title: “IT’S JEWDY’S SHOW”) which is the running bit in this very funny frame for Judy’s journey; that she’s consumed with getting her own TV Sitcom so that her two kids can see their lives reflected and finally accepted by mainstream culture. Judy grew up a bit of a misfit, towering over her peers and proverbially out of place and sought refuge and quick emotional fixes in the sitcoms of the 60s and 70s. Her kids seek the same. But is America ready for a gay, feminist, kosher SEINFELD? Why can’t Judy get legally married in the Jew state of New York? Pungent and funny and revealing, the play’s a brand new work of art, wildly different from the version I saw at Joe’s Pub 8 months ago. And so, willy nilly, we’re working on a new play with a great team and it’s a lot of work in a hurry and a very exciting time to be launching a culturally up to the minute new show starring an indomitable talent. And I’m not even talking about Sandra Bernhard right now! It’s JEWDY’S SHOW, damnit (as she’s no doubt punctuate it).

And guess what? I’m heading up again right now, as I type this, for rehearsal #3 now that Kate has sent a top to bottom rewrite after Monday’s excellent rehearsal and feedback session.

* * * And here’s the update: I’ve read the script on Megabus – Laughing Out Loud throughout – Cried twice – show’s in great shape! Great meeting just now (I’m revising this in nyc) with director Amanda Charlton while Judy keeps practicing the piano – couldn’t be happier! So much for the update.) * * *

Tonight I finally see ZERO HOUR in its New York iteration. I’ll be seeing the show with RISE AND FALL OF ANNIE HALL playwright Sam Forman (who has a new play he just sent me, I’ll be reading it as soon as I’m done reading the rewrite of Jewdy!) And herein I share with you video from the opening night of ZERO HOUR, courtesy or our superstar buddy, Steve Schalchlin.

Finally, I share with you a bundle of encomiums from LOST IN YONKERS. Check out this Final Round Up of Wonderful Words from Audience members writing into Becky:
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ZERO closes gloriously, Yom Kippur’s SRO, and YONKERS props on..

We’ve been multi-tasking, celebrating, bidding adieu, and shopping like crazy for props and furniture for a new production in the making. Please read this beautiful entry from Steve on his and Jim’s final weekend here in DC with ZERO HOUR, the show that closed this weekend hitting all its marks; making budget, sowing seeds of success for a national hit soon to culminate in Manhattan, a kind of crowning achievement for Jim who’s been making audiences happy for many decades now but somehow, he believes–both he and Steve believe–that ZERO is something special; some kind of pinnacle; and I buy that. We can’t think of a better way to have opened the busy season than with ZERO HOUR.

I even got to perform a little bit of it myself during the Yom Kippur study session at Washington Hebrew Congregation. We were discussing the Drama of Remembrance, Repentance, Reconciliation & Revenge on The American Jewish Stage and I wound up reading from ZERO HOUR’S recapitulation of Zero determining whether he, as a Blacklisted artist, could work ever work with scoundrel-genius, Jerome Robbins, the great choreographer-director who named names and lived to regret a great deal of what he’d done.

“A morbid silence fell over the dressing room. I said, “Do I have to shake his hand?” Hal said “No.” I said, “Do I have to eat with him?” George said, “No.” Hal said, “Will you work with him?” I said, “Of course I’ll work with him. We of the left do not blacklist.”

The extended sequence, with it’s “where there’s smoke, there’s salmon” throw-aways interspersed, got good laughs and the 100 minute talk was well received. So much so I had to do it right again with 15 minutes of break in between. Quite a way to spend a fast day. If I’m able, I’ll take my 20 pages of notes–not withstanding the many pages of quoted sequences from Arthur Miller’s AFTER THE FALL and THE PRICE, and see if a full-blown essay develops. It was better that these notes serve more as talking points with occasional speechifying for what turned out to be a soulful search for a new Jewish Cultural Conscience. In the absence of Miller’s moral voice, whither the Cultural Conscience now? Tony Kushner, it was suggested–and rightly so–occupies a central space in the public square. But he’s been tarred and feathered repeatedly by rightist–and increasingly mainstream–Jewish groups who choose to shove him over to the anti-Israel left, and Tony’s too busy to fight back now. His investment has never been centrally with the Jewish community. He’s had other movements that have needed him more. Same with Miller, of course. So a sustained discourse on our own health–our behavior as a community–hasn’t been that forthcoming. So what yesterday’s double talk (though not at all intended as “double-talk”) was about was trying to cull from Theater J’s 12 year body of recent work, a sustained inquiry into our past, pealing back (as Miller so often did) layer upon layer of sentiment and myth to reveal something closer to painful truth and to allow that process to be cathartic and ultimately binding. Or as I noted,

“to look at the past is a political act. That is, if one confronts the past critically, asking questions of it – its veracity, what we know about it, and to seek to reveal a multi-stranded bedrock of truth – is to reckon with our own moral centers and lay a path toward redemption.”

A fuller version of the talk is to come, I promise. Especially all the fun stuff that pertained to the opening thesis about the rash of Tough Jew Movies–and plays–that have appeared over the past year and a half, Continue reading