The Bride and the Brothel, a new musical based on the 1907 Sholem Asch play, God of Vengeance, is continuing through March 4 at the Gascon Center Theatre. Directed (and co-adapted) by Madeline Leavitt and choreographed by Denise Leitner, the musical has music and lyrics by Hanna Levy.
Originally written in Yiddish, God of Vengeance was first produced in English on Broadway in 1923 for several weeks. The director, Joseph Schildkraut, the cast and the producer were arrested and the play closed down.
The plot revolves around Yankl, a brothel keeper, and his wife Sorre, a former prostitute—and their beautiful virgin daughter Rivkele. They live upstairs from the brothel. Yankl plans a respectable marriage for his daughter, preferably to a rabbinical student, but she has ideas of her own. She is romantically attracted to Manke, a prostitute who will introduce her to the underworld and to Shloyme, a rival pimp.
The translation from the Yiddish is by Joachim Neugroschel, a prize-winning translator who has rendered into English the works of Racine, Moliere, Brecht, Chekhov, Martin Buber and Kafka, among others.
The cast includes Adam Gregor, JoAnne Bailey, Jamie Farmer Ebersole, Courtney Delancey, Amy Tolsky, Lauren Leitner, Hale Porter, Donald Bluestein, James Felton, Richard McPhee, Barbara Goodson, Marie Bergenholtz and Leila Renee.Gascon Center Theatre is located at 8737 Washington Blvd. in Culver City. For tickets and information call (310) 289-2999.
— By Willard Manus
Southern California Correspondent