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THE BEN HECHT SHOW to Premiere at Piven Theatre, 6/10-7/17

The fascinating life of Chicago newspaperman turned legendary playwright, screenwriter and novelist Ben Hecht takes center stage in Grippo Stage Company's world premiere of THE BEN HECHT SHOW, written and performed by James Sherman and directed by Dennis Za?ek. Based on Ben Hecht's books A Guide For the Bedevilled and A Child Of the Century, in which Hecht confronts his own identity as an American Jew in the wake of the Nazi Holocaust, THE BEN HECHT SHOW will play June 10 - July 17, 2016 at Piven Theatre at Noyes Cultural Center, 927 Noyes St. in Evanston. Tickets are currently available at or by calling (800) 838-3006. The press opening is Tuesday, June 14 at 8 pm.

Actor-playwright James Sherman portrays Ben Hecht in this engaging and thought-provoking story of the 1920s Chicago newspaper journalist (Chicago Journal, Chicago Daily News) who later found fame as a playwright (The Front Page, On The Twentieth Century), screenwriter (Nothing Sacred, Wuthering Heights, Spellbound) and novelist. In his post-Holocaust books of memoirs, A Guide for the Bedevilled and Child of the Century, Hecht also describes his own upbringing as an assimilated American Jew and his burgeoning activities in support of European Jewry and the creation of Israel. Hecht's play The Front Page is slated for a Broadway revival this fall starring Nathan Lane, John Slattery and John Goodman.

"The first play I did with Dennis Za?ek, The God of Isaac, related my own story of growing up in Skokie and confronting my own identity as an American Jew during the 'Neo-Nazi incident' of the late 1970s,' comments James Sherman. "When I read Hecht's book, A Guide for the Bedevilled, I was awe-struck by the fact that Hecht had wrestled with the same questions a generation ago. Upon reading Hecht's memoirs, I had three thoughts. One, Hecht was a brilliant writer. Two, the issues of Jewish identity and anti-Semitism that Hecht writes about are remarkably topical. And, three, I want to do this as a one-man show. Through Chicago's own Newberry Library, where The Hecht Collection is housed, I obtained the rights to use Hecht's own words and compiled the script using material from his two books of memoirs. I'm thrilled to be able to bring to life this important and fascinating character," adds Sherman.

Photo by Ed Krieger

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