Bad Jews Will Inhabit Roundabout Underground This Fall; Daniel Aukin Directs Premiere

By Kenneth Jones
April 19, 2012

The sixth season of Roundabout Theatre Company's Roundabout Underground program of new works by emerging writers will launch Oct. 5 with the world premiere of Bad Jews, a comedy by Joshua Elias Harmon, directed by Daniel Aukin.



Opening is Oct. 30. The cast and creative team will be announced shortly. Roundabout Underground is a 62-seat Off-Broadway space in the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre on West 46th Street.

This is a limited engagement through Dec. 16. All tickets for Roundabout Underground productions are $20. Seating is general admission.

Bad Jews is billed this way: "A world-premiere comedy about the holy and the holier-than-thou. Daphna Feygenbaum is a Real Jew — just ask the Israeli boyfriend she met on Birthright. So when her cousin Liam brings home his shiksa girlfriend Melody and declares ownership of their grandfather's Chai necklace, it sparks a viciously hilarious brawl over family, faith and legacy."

The title was announced by Roundabout artistic director Todd Haimes April 19, the same day that the nonprofit announced that Jake Gyllenhaal will star in If There Is I Haven't Found It Yet at the Laura Pels Theatre, just above the Underground space in the Steinberg Center, starting in August.

Harmon's plays include A Boy Named Alice, Bad Jews, Love in the Time of Channukah and an adaptation of Emile Zola's Therese Raquin. His work has been produced and developed by Hangar Theatre, Ars Nova, The Lark, Prospect Theater Company and Actor's Express, where he was the 2010-2011 National New Play Network Playwright-in-Residence. He has received fellowships from MacDowell, Atlantic Center for the Arts and the Eudora Welty Foundation, and won the Kennedy Center's Mark Twain Prize for Comic Playwriting (2nd Place). He has taught playwriting at Actor's Express, Carnegie Mellon and Horizon Theatre.

Aukin directed the critically lauded 4000 Miles by Amy Herzog at Lincoln Center. Selected credits include The Ugly One by Marius von Mayenburg at Soho Rep, This by Melissa James Gibson at Playwrights Horizons and for Center Theater Group and Paraffin by Adam Rapp at Rattlestick, plus [sic] (OBIE Award for direction), Mark Schultz's Everything Will Be Different, Melissa James Gibson's Suitcase and Brooklyn Bridge.

Prior Underground productions include the acclaimed world premieres of Stephen Karam's Speech & Debate (2007), Steven Levenson's The Language of Trees (2008), Adam Gwon's Ordinary Days (2009), Kim Rosenstock's Tigers Be Still (2010), David West Read's The Dream of the Burning Boy (2011) and Andrew Hinderaker's Suicide, Incorporated (2011).

Bad Jews will play Tuesday through Sunday evenings at 7 PM with Saturday and Sunday matinees at 1:30 PM.

Tickets will be available beginning this summer by calling Roundabout Ticket Services at (212) 719-1300, online at roundabouttheatre.org or at the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre box office (111 W. 46th Street).

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Roundabout Underground "is an initiative to showcase new plays that will either allow an experienced director to go back to his/her creative roots or give a debut production to an emerging writer or director." It "allows Roundabout to take artistic risks that are better suited for a more intimate space." Robyn Goodman (artistic consultant to the Roundabout) produces the initiative "that continues to be a creative breeding ground for nurturing new talent."