Chicago Will Get Windier With Old Jews Telling Jokes This Fall; Off-Broadway Creatives Reunite

By Kenneth Jones
13 Feb 2013

Old Jews Telling Jokes, the Off-Broadway evening of comedy whose title says it all, will get an offshoot Chicago production this fall. Marc Bruni will again direct the revue by Peter Gethers and Daniel Okrent. Performances will begin Sept. 24 toward an Oct. 2 opening at the mainstage of the Royal George Theatre at 1641 N. Halsted Street.



Old Jews Telling Jokes "showcases five actors in a revue that pays tribute to and reinvents classic jokes of the past and present," according to the producers. "Think you've heard them all before? Not this way. The show also features comic songs — brand new and satisfyingly old — as well as tributes to some of the giants of the comedy world and to OldJewsTellingJokes.com, the website created by Sam Hoffman that inspired the show. If you've ever had a mother, visited a doctor, or walked into a bar with a priest, a rabbi and a frog — Old Jews Telling Jokes will sit in the dark, give you a second opinion, and ask you where you got that."

The New York production continues at the Westside Theatre, where it began in May 2012. Casting for the Chicago production will be announced shortly.

Gethers is president of Random House Studio, as well as an editor and publisher at Random House, Inc., a screenwriter, television writer and producer, novelist, and non-fiction author of the bestselling trilogy about his Scottish Fold cat Norton: "The Cat Who Went to Paris," "A Cat Abroad" and "The Cat Who'll Live Forever." His new novel, "Ask Bob," will be published in August 2013.

Okrent is a writer and editor, and best known for having served as the first public editor of The New York Times. With Gethers, he also invented Rotisserie League Baseball, and wrote several books, including "Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition," which served as a major source for the 2011 Ken Burns/Lynn Novick miniseries "Prohibition." Most of his career has been spent as an editor, at such places as Alfred A. Knopf and Time, Inc. His book "Great Fortune: The Epic of Rockefeller Center" was a finalist for The Pulitzer Prize in history."

Bruni's directing credits include Pipe Dream (Encores!), Fanny (Encores!), Ordinary Days (Roundabout Theatre Company), In the Mood (Berkshire Theatre Festival), 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Paper Mill/Philadelphia Theatre Company), Irving Berlin's White Christmas (Paper Mill), Such Good Friends (NYMF Directing Award), High Spirits (York Theatre's Mufti Series) and more. He has served as associate director on 15 Broadway shows including Nice Work If You Can Get It and the 2011 Tony-winning revival of Anything Goes. He is the associate director for the current Chicago engagement of The Book of Mormon at the Bank of America Theater.

In addition to Okrent, Gethers and Bruni, the creative team includes David Gallo (set and video design); Jeff Croiter (lighting design); Alejo Vietti (costume design); Richard Fitzgerald/Sound Associates (sound design); and Adam Wachter (musical supervision and arrangements).

Old Jews Telling Jokes is produced by Daniel Okrent and Peter Gethers, and Richard Frankel, Tom Viertel, Steven Baruch and Marc Routh.

The Chicago engagement is currently booked to Nov. 24 on the following schedule: Tuesdays-Fridays at 7:30 PM; Saturdays at 5 & 8 PM; and Sundays at 2 & 5 PM. Starting the week of Oct. 7, Wednesday matinees at 2 PM will alternate with Tuesday evening performances.

Tickets are priced at $49 (weekdays) and $59 (Friday-Sunday). 

Tickets are now on sale by calling (312) 988-9000; visiting the Royal George Theatre box office, or online at Ticketmaster.com. Discounted tickets for groups of 10 or more are available by calling Group Theater Tix at (312) 423-6612 or visiting grouptheatertix.com.

For more information, visit oldjewstellingjokesonstage.com/chicago.