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  Bad Jews at Royal George Theatre

Bad Jews

Royal George Theatre
1641 N. Halsted Chicago

Bad Jews tells the story of Daphna Feygenbaum, a "Real Jew" with an Israeli boyfriend. When Daphna's cousin Liam brings home his shiksa girlfriend Melody and declares ownership of their grandfather's Chai necklace, a vicious and hilarious brawl over family, faith and legacy ensues. Stir in the identity curation of the Facebook generation and Theater Wit's Chicago premiere of Bad Jews, directed by artistic director Jeremy Wechsler, promises to be one of the funniest, wisest, most excruciating comedies on a Chicago stage this year.

Thru - Dec 27, 2015

Price: $24-$58

Show Type: Comedy

Box Office: 312-988-9000

Running Time: 1hr, 35mins
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  Bad Jews Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Highly Recommended

"...Wechsler clearly understands that "Bad Jews" walks a line between realistic characters and intentional stereotypes. The blinking Bittner, for example, is playing a sweet young woman whom you can imagine Liam marrying, sure, but she's also the uber-shiksa, a woman so clearly non-Jewish, so visibly non-ethnic in any way, that Daphna's charges feel justified. It's a perilous arena, these matters of race and appearance, but if people are laughing, there are real opportunities for the fearless. And this hilarious staging of "Bad Jews" grabs its chance and squeezes hard."
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Chris Jones

Chicago Reader - Highly Recommended

"...What keeps Bad Jews from becoming yet another embarrassing episode in that ongoing cultural sitcom you might call America's Silliest Jews is, first, the witty, ruthless precision with which Harmon plumbs so much of what American Jews actually think, often in spite of themselves; second, the way his satire opens out into a compassionate look at what it means to be a millennial Jew. Then there's Jeremy Wechsler's nasty-brilliant production for Theater Wit. Ian Paul Custer is an absorbing asshole (awful as that sounds) as Liam, while Laura Lapidus makes Daphna utterly mesmerizing as she dances through Jonah's apartment, performing a kind of scorched-earth psychic ballet."
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Tony Adler

Windy City Times - Recommended

"...Luckily for director Jeremy Wechsler, comic actors are accustomed to playing extreme personality types, and so arrive with the stamina and vocal muscles necessary to emote in triple-forte without running out of breath for the ninety minutes before their author does. Cory Kahane, Erica Bittner, Ian Paul Custer and Laura Lapidus keep a firm grip on their larger-than-life characters and the even larger issues raised by their squabbles to emerging as more than talking/shouting heads, but people whom we might want to meet again a few years later."
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Mary Shen Barnidge

Time Out Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...But itís the passive-aggressive, then aggressive-aggressive face-off between Daphna and Liam that forms the core of Harmonís comedy, bringing with it nuanced questions about cultural identity and assimilation and a lot of nervous laughter. Daphna ends up a bit too monstrous, perhaps, but Lapidus sells it. These are very good Bad Jews."
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Kris Vire

Stage and Cinema - Recommended

"...The performances, targeted like lasers, are so vitriolic that Theater Wit's quartet deserve combat pay. And, of course, Bad Jews cannot end well. To his credit Harmon attempts no phony reconciliation. The audience is all but forced to choose sides-as must poor, ambushed Melody, her passion for Liam tested to the max, and forlorn Jonah, his fervent desire to stay out of this family feud as sad as it gets. Nothing subtle spoils this feeding frenzy of internecine warfare. This verbal bloodbath is only entertaining from a safe distance."
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Lawrence Bommer

ChicagoCritic - Highly Recommended

"...Who deserves the Chai? Each does. Who finally gets it? You must see the play to find out. But even better is a different discovery that unfolds in the last three minutes of the play - unexpected and perfect, leaving the audience breathless. Wow!"
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Beverly Friend

Around The Town Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...It is not very often that a play moves from one theater to another. In som cases, for example "Million Dollar Quartet" which moved from the Goodman to the Apollo, it was a very long "lease". The reason for these moves can be that the venue has another obligation, but there are times when a play moves from the city to the suburbs so that a larger audience gets a crack at seeing a sharp production. Such is the case with Theater Wit's movement of their smash hit, "Bad Jews" as it left their humble home on Belmont and headed north to a place where the title has even greater meaning (or did in past years), Skokie. Skokie's population has changed over the last several decades, with a percentage still remaining as others left for Northbrook, Highland Park, Deerfield and even as far as Buffalo Grove, but Skokie and Jews still are bound by its history."
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Alan Bresloff

Chicago Theatre Review - Highly Recommended

"...Jeremy Wechslerís production of Joshua Harmonís savage new comedy is a ferocious theatrical experience. Performed by an exciting quartet of terrific young actors, this play is sure to become the talk of this town. Harmonís play taps into some deeply disturbing areas and ultimately raises the question, Who IS the bad Jew here? Is it Liam, for his lax religious views, or is it Daphna, for her holier than thou attitude? Both characters are at the forefront of this 100-minute war and never at a loss for words. But is the Bad Jew actually Jonah for his inability to assert his position, either in defending his brother or putting his cousin in her place? Or perhaps Harmon is indicting all three of them in a comedy that lays bare all the anger, jealousy and bad manners that can only be found among family."
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Colin Douglas

Chicagoland Theater Reviews - Highly Recommended

"...ďBad JewsĒ succeeds on many levels. It provides some memorable acting moments. Itís a fine comedy that earns its laughs honorably through superb writing and not by milking religious stereotypes. The dialogue may be abrasive but the issues Harmon examines are dealt with even handedly and only a very thin skinned viewer would take any offense at the religious brickbats Liam and Daphna toss back and forth. The play understandably may resonate more with Jewish spectators, but you donít have to be Jewish to enjoy this exceptional theatrical event."

Dan Zeff

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   This show has been Jeff Recommended*

*The designation of "Jeff Recommended" is given to a production when at least ONE ELEMENT of the show was deemed outstanding by the Joseph Jefferson Awards Committee.

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