Theatre Or Presents The Regional Premiere Of OH MY GOD!
This fall God suddenly shows up for therapy in Israeli playwright Anat Gov's "divine comedy," running September 14-30, at the Pluss Theatre in Denver's Staenburg-Loup Jewish Community Center. Produced by Theatre Or,* in collaboration with the Mizel Arts and Culture Center, Oh My God! is an early selection of JAAMM Fest (Jewish Arts, Authors, Music and Movies). God will also materialize at the Robert and Judi Newman Performing Arts Center on the University of Denver Campus for two performances on October 6; and he will then appear for two performances in Boulder on October 13 and 14, in collaboration with the Boulder Jewish Community Center.
In Gov's play God suffers an existential crisis and seeks out an earthly secular therapist to help relieve his angst. Ella, who has her own issues, has but one hour to convince God not to destroy his creation. She finds it difficult to help a "being" who has no parents to blame. At times it is not clear who is therapist to whom.
"We are placing this production in three area venues," remarks Theatre Or Producing Artistic Director, Diane Gilboa. "We actually double cast the show and will have two totally different productions. Beloved Boulder Rabbi Marc Soloway will play God, but unfortunately he is not available for our September run at the Pluss Theatre, because of the Jewish High Holidays. So in order for him to perform in Denver, we must transport the production to the Newman Center on the University of Denver campus to accommodate his schedule. And then he will appear in the Boulder Jewish Community Center, making this a true community collaboration. As a result, we're building the set to tour, so Oh My God! is portable and can reach audiences throughout the state."
Rabbi Soloway's enthusiasm for his role as God is apparent. "After a 20 year break from the stage for the bimah, I am excited and nervous to have the awesome opportunity to play God in this audacious play by Anat Gov. The absurd premise of God's existential crisis makes for some good comedy, but also raises some profound and troubling questions about the nature of faith and doubt in a confusing and painful world." Susan Rona, Senior Programming Director at the Boulder JCC, believes "we have a sure fire hit with a beloved local rabbi playing the title role. This production fulfills a mission to bring live theater to the new J. Rabbi Marc Soloway is sure to be a huge draw - a British stage-trained actor tackling the role of a lifetime." Kathryn Bernheimer, Cultural Arts Director at the Boulder J, added that "the Boulder JCC is thrilled to showcase Levin Hall, a spectacular and versatile event space making its debut as a theater, with the perfect play for our community."
Rabbi Soloway will appear in the title role in the October 6 performance at 8 p.m. at the Newman Center and in Boulder at the JCC at 8 p.m. on Saturday, October 13, and again on Sunday, October 14, at 4 p.m.
According to Gilboa, "In the majority of performances, God will be played by the versatile actor Chris Bleau. Bleau, who recently appeared in Theatre Or's workshop production of Rochelah's Wedding, will have a very different approach to the role. And we have two great therapists in acclaimed area actresses Sheila Ivy Traister and Gina Walker, who will alternate as God's psychologist. Two other actors - Ryan Stack and Anthony Colangelo - will alternate as the therapist's autistic son. Bonnie Greene, a graphic design artist who created the show's logo, will stage manage; and Star Pytel will design lights."
Director Richard H. Pegg, who has directed several of Theatre Or's productions, responded "Oh my God," when Gilboa approached him to direct a contemporary play about God. "Exactly," she replied. "That's the title." He too feels challenged, but excited, to direct two different productions of the same play simultaneously. Pegg believes that patrons who enjoy the show the first time can return for a second performance with an entirely new cast and see a vastly different, but equally valid interpretation.
The Mizel Arts & Culture Center's Executive Director Steve Wilson "is delighted that our long-time partner, Theatre Or, who has recently produced several plays off-site as part of our JAAMM Festival, will return to our very own Pluss Theatre this fall. Theatre Or will produce the regional premiere of a terrific Israeli play as part of our ongoing celebration of Israel at 70. The play offers a hilarious conceit - God on the therapist's couch! But layered within this comedy is a measure of pathos that will make you laugh and cry and ponder the meaning of life! It is not to be missed!! We are equally delighted to partner with the Boulder JCC to bring the show to Boulder audiences."
The Mizel Arts and Culture Center. The Newman Center. The Boulder JCC. And then the show is available to tour. Definitely this fall God is everywhere! And afterward, he can travel beyond...
Tickets are available at www.theatre.com