When the world feels like a scary place, laughter, the “best medicine”, is healing. The chance to see the opening of Old Jews Telling Jokes, at the Royal George Theatre was a respite from daily tensions and a delightful experience. I was surprised to see that the audience was close to an even mixture of young and old and I wondered what the younger people were likely to relate to in this production. I need not have been concerned. Anyone could relate to the jokes. They were as much about the telling as they were the content.
I urge you to get your seats for this production, which will be gone before you know it and you don’t want to miss it. Performances are scheduled through Sunday, February 16, 2014. This hit off-Broadway comedy can be seen on the Main Stage of the Royal George Theatre, 1641 N. Halsted Street, and features a quintet of Chicago favorites: Dara Cameron, Alex Goodrich, Tim Kazurinsky, Renee Matthews and Gene Weygandt. The two very skilled younger performers, Dara Cameron and Alex Goodrich created a nice contrast to the more seasoned three creating just the right touch.
To enhance the feeling of Borscht Belt, the programs looked like menus, a clever touch and “green” to boot as they are turned in at the end of the performance and re-used. The stage was bare except for a monitor that filled many roles effectively and some chairs that also served several functions.
Old Jews Telling Jokes was created by Peter Gethers and Daniel Okrent, and is directed by Marc Bruni (Associate Director, The Book of Mormon Chicago). The five actors showcased in this comedy that pays tribute to and reinvents classic jokes of the past and present are simply perfect. The timing was right on in the blend of one-liners, stories, songs and even a hint of dancing and what seemed to be very personal stories. I expected old jokes and they were there but in addition, there were new jokes told in the “old” style. There were tributes to some of the giants of the comedy world and to OldJewsTellingJokes.com, the website created by Sam Hoffman that inspired the show which my daughter loved to watch.
As Alex Goodrich tells the audience toward the end, there is never a bad time to tell a joke – how true. The show was like medicine. My husband and I left breathing easier and feeling lighter. I did not want it to end.
NEW HOLIDAY PERFORMANCE SCHEDULE AND TICKET INFORMATION:
Old Jews Telling Jokes will be performed at the Royal George Theatre, 1641 N. Halsted Street, Chicago, through Sunday, February 16, 2014, with the following schedule: Tuesdays - Fridays at 7:30pm; Saturdays at 5 & 8pm; and Sundays at 2 & 5pm. Starting the week of October 7, Wednesday matinees at 2pm will alternate with Tuesday evening performances. Plus, special holiday performance schedules will be in effect:
Week of Thanksgiving (and Hannukah!): Tuesday, Nov. 26 at 7:30pm; Wednesday, Nov. 27 at 2pm; Thursday, Nov. 28, no show; Friday, Nov. 29 at 2 and 7:30pm; Saturday, Nov. 30 at 5 and 8pm; Sunday, Dec. 1 at 2 and 5pm.
Week of Christmas: Tuesday, Dec. 24, no show; Wednesday, Dec. 25 at 7:30pm; Thursday, Dec. 26 at 2 and 7:30pm; Friday, Dec. 27 at 7:30pm; Saturday, Dec. 28 at 5 and 8pm; Sunday, Dec. 29 at 2 and 5pm.
Week of New Year’s: Tuesday, Dec. 31* at 5 and 9pm; Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014, no show; Thursday, Jan. 2 at 7:30pm; Friday, Jan. 3 at 8pm; Saturday, Jan. 4 at 5 and 8pm; Sunday, Jan. 5 at 2 and 5pm.
Tickets range in price from $49 - $69. * There will be special New Year’s Eve performance pricing. All prices do not include a $1 facility fee. Tickets for the new block of tickets are now on sale by calling (312) 988-9000; visiting the Royal George Theatre box office, or online at Ticketmaster.com. Plus, give the gift of humor for Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa or the holiday of your choice – with OLD JEWS gift certificates available at the Royal George box office.
Discounted tickets for groups of 10 or more are available by calling Group Theater Tix at 312-423-6612 or visiting.
Photos: Dan Rest