Jewtopia's Wolfson Premieres Solo Show at Elephant Theatre

By: Jun. 16, 2010
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Jewtopia was intended to be a two-month runwhich turned into two years, becoming the longest running original comedy in LA theater history. It then transferred Off-Broadway and after three years became the longest running original comedy in Off-Broadway theater history. The show spawned a best selling "Jewtopia" book and countless "Jewtopia" productions the world over.

As cowriter of Jewtopia, Wolfson is now on his own with the premiere of his newest work PLAY DATES.

BroadwayWorld sat down with Sam to learn more about the play, his feelings on not having a writer partner this time around and creating theatre in Los Angeles

So after the huge success of Jewtopia how does it feel writing on your own?

It was strange at first to sit down at the computer by myself after having had a writing partner for almost ten years. Your first thought is, "Can I even do this by myself?" But when you realize you can write down whatever line you want without having to get it ok'd by someone else, and that you can write whatever time of day you want, and whatever topic you want to write about it, it's pretty freeing. It certainly allows you to find your true voice as a writer.

What is Play Dates about and what inspired you to write it?

At first all I was thinking about was, "How can I top Jewtopia?" Jewtopia was a two hour, seven person play with lots of costumes, set changes, and a huge musical number at the end. I kept trying to think of a hook that would be bigger and better, and couldn't come up with anything. After beating my head against the wall for months, I realized the answer wasn't going bigger, it was going smaller. Smaller cast, less broad of a show, and making it more personal and real.

How did you life change after the success of Jewtopia?

The best thing about it was I had a steady gig for seven years. And I was able to be a part of a really big show. The tough part was breaking out of it and doing something different, since I'd been known for so long as the "Jewtopia guy." I feel like I'm just starting to break out of the Jewtopia shadow and have an identity beyond the show.

What do you think it was about Jewtopia that the public connected with and how do you think PLAY DATES will do that?

That's one of those indefinable things, I'm not even sure how to answer. For whatever reason, people of all religions, ages, and races connected with Jewtopia. If I had to boil it down, I guess I'd say they saw themselves in the show. With PLAY DATES, I'm hoping that all the insane, mundane, maddening things that have happened in my relationships and that I write about, the audience will be able to say "oh my God, all of those insane, mundane, maddening things happen in my relationships too."

If you are a playwright why have you situated yourself in LA?

Because what I want to do is work in television, and most of it is in LA. That's always been my dream. Playwriting and half hour situation comedy writing aren't really that far apart. And playwriting is the perfect vehicle to write something and get it up in front of audience as opposed to writing tv pilots that might never see the light of day.

What led to PLAY DATES being produced?

Green Beetle Productions is an independent theatre producing team made up of Jennifer Chambers and Kristen Lee Kelly. I've known Jen Chambers since I was 16. We met at summer camp. We also went to college together. She was one of the original investors in Jewtopia so this is a reunion of sorts to work together on my new show. Jen is great at finding the truth in all the comedic situations and playing it real, not for laughs. That said - I wrote PLAY DATES to make people laugh out loud and just enjoy themselves and maybe relate to crazy adventures these characters take in trying to find love.

PLAY DATES open July 8th and runs through to August 1st. Shows are Thurs-Sun 8PM. Tickets can be purchased at (323) 960-7776 or online at www.plays411.com/playdates.

 

 



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