After a successful world premiere at Chicago's Victory Gardens Theatre in 1995, followed by runs at Lake George Dinner Theatre, Meadowbrook Theatre, Miami's Coconut Grove Playhouse, Off-Broadway's Jewish Repertory Theatre and CA's Long Beach Playhouse, James Sherman's Jest a Second now finds itself back in its home state. The comedy, to be directed by its author, opens June 22 at the Timber Lake Playhouse of Mt. Carroll, IL. Running through July 2, the piece features Jodi Schilling, who appeared in the Off-Broadway mounting.
A sequel to Sherman's long-running Off-Broadway comedy, Beau Jest, Jest a Second shows Sarah and her non-Jewish escort turned boyfriend now married. Sarah's brother, Joel, is in the midst of a divorce and has met a new love. Good news: Randy's a doctor and Jewish! Bad news: Randy's a man, and Joel's ex will use this against him in her custody battle.
Co-starring with Schilling's Sarah are John Knight, Jason Rosenbaum, Anita Hoffman and Howard Johnson. Designing the show are Kent Andel (sets), Catherine Hoban (props), Jason Weible (lighting), and Sara Ausberger (costumes).
Asked in January 1997 by e-mail, where he got the idea for a sequel in which the brother turned out to be gay, Sherman wrote, "My best friend in the world is a gay man with children. Also, among the many productions of Beau Jest I have seen over the years, I saw one in which the actor playing Joel gave me pause to wonder if the character might be gay. I played Joel once myself and played it as if I was gay to see if there was anything to contradict that possibility -- There isn't."
Asked if there was a third Jest in the offing, Sherman answered, "As an opening night gift for Jest A Second, I was given `The Top Ten Sequel Titles", including `Jest Another Minute,' and `Jest Cause.'" For tickets ($12) and information on Jest a Second at Timber Lake Playhouse8215 Black Oak Road in Mt. Carroll, call (815) 244-2035.
-- By David Lefkowitz