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  The Invasion of Skokie at Chicago Dramatists

The Invasion of Skokie

Chicago Dramatists
1105 W Chicago Chicago

It's 1978 and neo-Nazis are about to march on Skokie, Illinois. What better time for a nice gentile boy to go to Skokie to ask a Jewish family for their daughter’s hand in marriage - or maybe not. Steven Peterson is a current Network Playwright and past Resident Playwright at Chicago Dramatists.

Thru - Oct 10, 2010

Price: $15-$32

Show Type: Drama

Box Office: 312-633-0630

  The Invasion of Skokie Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Recommended

"...while Act 2 still needs work, there's no question that the director, Richard Perez, has given this new play a deftly cast and shrewdly staged premiere. I have a soft spot indeed for local plays — I kept watching Van Dusen's face. No doubt he was worrying about how his village would come off, just as a heroic mayoral predecessor, the late Albert J. Smith, had tried to protect his people in the 1970s. As things turned out, neither man needed to worry. Skokie — singular, complex and yet emblematic of so much in American history — stands tall."
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Chris Jones

Chicago Sun Times - Somewhat Recommended

"...Though director Richard Perez has assembled a solid cast, the play itself too often lurches between sitcom stereotypes and issue-driven drama. Yet it does manage to capture the volatile temper of its era."
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Hedy Weiss

Examiner - Not Recommended

"...Despite a fine cast and able direction by Richard Perez, The Invasion of Skokie would be a forgettable mediocrity were its subject matter not so urgent and sensitive. For the first few scenes, Invasion feels like a Jewish version of any number of blandly innocuous, mildly amusing 30-minute TV shows. Morry and Sylvia Kaplan are a loving yet playfully quirky couple, their banter a poor man’s version of Laura and Rob or Lucy and Ricky or Marge and Homer or any number of other televisionland spouses you might care to think of."
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Catey Sullivan

Chicago Reader - Somewhat Recommended

"...As it happened, the neo-Nazis never marched in Skokie. They held demonstrations in Lincolnwood, downtown Chicago, and on their home turf, in Marquette Park, instead. For Morry, it doesn't feel like a victory. "All my life I wanted to do something," he says, and Mick Weber, who plays Morry with sour-faced indignation, looks ready to choke on yet another bitter pill. I thought of the chronically constipated father in Philip Roth's Portnoy's Complaint, a man whose very bowels were "gripped by the iron hand of outrage and frustration." At its best, The Invasion of Skokie evokes the same mix of pathos and fury."
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Zac Thompson

Windy City Times - Recommended

"...Chicago Dramatists' world premiere production of Steven Peterson's The Invasion of Skokie couldn't have arrived at a more appropriate time. Though the play is set during the 1978 attempt by neo-Nazis to protest in the Chicago suburb of Skokie, its questions about free speech and tolerance gives a context to reflect on the current brouhahas around the proposed New York Islamic center to be built near Ground Zero and the Florida pastor who is threatening burn copies of the Koran."
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Scott C. Morgan

Centerstage - Highly Recommended

"...The actors present the metaphors of playwright Steven Peterson's work with fearless confidence. Mick Weber (Morry Kaplan) achieves emotional honesty in his role as the fearful, stubborn patriarch, and Tracey Kaplan (Debbie Kaplan) creates a believable character as his strong-willed daughter. The conflict between father and daughter is universal and poignant. Like the play, it's a paradigm for America’s contradictory nature as freedom-loving but intolerant to change. Morry is the old world, holding onto faith and identity, and Debbie is the future, aware of the inevitability of assimilation. And yet both characters realize that the other has a good point."

Marla Seidell

Time Out Chicago - Recommended

"...The production’s saving grace comes in some finely rendered performances. Weber is kvetchily affecting as the paterfamilias under assault from external and internal threats. But the standouts are supporting turns: Michael Joseph Mitchell is sweetly hilarious as family friend Howie, while Gold brilliantly plays the Kaplan family’s secret center, Sylvia, bringing out the nuanced, sharp awareness hidden beneath a placid veneer."
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John Beer

Chicago Stage Standard - Recommended

"...Since conflict is the soul of drama, it’s predictable enough that liberal activist Debbie should be at odds with crusty Morry, especially when he acquires a gun from a radical Jewish group that he intends to use against the neo-Nazi invaders (even though veteran Charlie has to show him how to use it).  But you know they love each other so these arguments are more acting than actuality.  Adding more conflict, Debbie wants her parents to know that she and Charlie are to be engaged.  She asks for their blessing—which Morry, like Tevye the milkman, won’t give unless Charlie converts to Judaism, which he doesn’t want to do."

Lawrence Bommer

Around The Town Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...During the 105 minutes of “Invasion” I watched with great care to see where Peterson was going and how Perez would take us there without making it an episode of  Mrs. Goldberg or “I Remember Mama” ( Jewish Style) or even a little “Fiddler” thrown in. While the main characters had some very Jewishness and did cover some of what non-Jews stereotype Jews as, they did not dwell on this and after all, Jews have been laughing at their own Jewishness for many years. I know that they felt the need to break the Saturday into Sunday and had an intermission, but to be honest, I would have preferred a no intermission, straight through run. I find that a small break often loses the concentration of an audience as they “check their messages”, Have a smoke, or run to the bathroom and the rush back to not miss the second act. No intermission allows the audience to “stay in” the story and not have to try and recall what took place before they did other things."
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Alan Bresloff

Chicago Theater Beat - Highly Recommended

"...The Invasion of Skokie is a glimpse at a not-so-familiar but important moment in history. From the picturesque backyard patio (designer Grant Sabin) of suburbia, a Jewish family deals with menacing Nazis and Gentiles rallying against the tranquility."

Katy Walsh

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