The Washington Jewish Theatre has started off its 1998-99 season with a strong dose of food poisoning and a mother who refuses to die in the Donald Margulies comedy, What's Wrong With This Picture?. Picture runs at the Kreeger Auditorium through Jan. 3, 1999. The play opened Dec. 17 after starting previews Dec. 15.
Artie, a 17 year old boy from Brooklyn, loses his mother Shirley when she chokes on moo shu. Even more unfortunate is the fact that after the shiva (mourning period), she shows up again. Picture deals with losing the loved ones and learning to move on with life.
Margulies was a Pulitzer Prize runner-up for Sight Unseen, which also won an Obie for Best New American play. Other works include The Loman Family Picnic, Found a Peanut, and The Model Apartment.
The Picture cast features three Jewish Theatre vets: Helen Hayes nominee (It's Only A Play) Paula Gruskiewicz as Shirley, Irv Ziff (God of Isaac, Kuni-Leml) as Sid and Ilona Dulaski (Berlin to Broadway, the Signature's A Little Night Music) as Bella. Also in the company are Sheira Venetianer (Ceil), Wade Fisher (Artie) and John O'Keefe (Mort).
Making his Jewish Theatre debut, Benjamin Fisher (The Soft Click of a Switch) directs. Annica Graham stage manages with Christian Zonts as assistant stage manager. Helen Hayes Award winning designer Rosemary Pardee designs the costumes, David Sislen the set and lighting and Christopher Moscatiello the sound, as well as contributing original music. Rebecca Lloyd is the properties designer.
Tickets for What's Wrong With This Picture? are $26-$10 and available by calling the box office at (301) 230-3775. The Washington Jewish Theatre is located in the Kreeger Auditorium at 6125 Montrose Road, Rockville, MD.
Next up on the Jewish Theatre's schedule is a revival of the classic Rodgers and Hart musical, Pal Joey, running Feb. 10-28, 1999.
-- By Christine Ehren