Circumcise Me, Tale of Comic Actor's Transformation, to Play NYC

News   Circumcise Me, Tale of Comic Actor's Transformation, to Play NYC
Boasting a title that might make men squirm, Circumcise Me, a new comedy written by and starring comedian Yisrael Campbell, will play Off-Broadway's Bleecker Street Theater starting Nov. 1 toward a Nov. 11 opening.
Yisrael Campbell
Yisrael Campbell

The limited engagement is produced by Evelyn McGee Colbert and Eva Price of Maximum Entertainment Productions.

According to production notes, "In his New York theatrical debut, comedian Yisrael Campbell takes the audience on a hysterically funny and intensely personal journey through his struggles with drugs and alcohol and his eventual salvation in the Jewish faith. Though he was born Catholic, Yisrael (who changed his name from Christopher) charts an extraordinary spiritual, creative, and hilarious journey that includes three circumcisions along the way. Circumcise Me is the rare collision of comedy and theatre that will have women howling with laughter and men squirming in their seats."

The film "Circumcise Me," a documentary on Yisrael's life, is currently playing in film festivals around the country.

The creative team includes scenic and video design by Aaron Rhyne, lighting and sound design by Perchik Kreiman-Miller. The director will be named shortly.

Campbell said in a statement, "It is thrilling to bring Circumcise Me to New York. The show will be running a quick subway ride away from where I studied 20 years ago at The Circle in the Square Drama School so I feel like I have come full circle. In the process, though, I changed my name, my religion, my nationality, my marital status and my size." Bleecker Street Theater is located at 45 Bleecker Street just east of Lafayette Street.

Tickets for Circumcise Me range $25-$65 with premium seating available. Circumcise Me will play Wednesday at 2 PM, Thursday at 8 PM, Saturday at 8 PM and Sunday at 4 PM and 7 PM. Tickets can be purchased by visiting Telecharge at or by calling (212) 239-6200.

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Yisrael Campbell lives in Jerusalem. He was born Christopher Campbell, raised Catholic and grew up in Philadelphia. Although he attended Catholic school as a boy (his aunt was a nun and his mother was in the convent for a while), "Chris was destined to leave the Church." As a teenager, his recovery from substance abuse led him to a higher spiritual path, ultimately leading him to Judaism. Twenty five years later he remains sober, according to his bio. Along the way, Campbell studied theatre in New York City at Circle in a Square Theater Company and began performing standup comedy. He studied with Nikos Psacharopoulos (Williamstown Theater Festival) and Terese Hayden & Jacqueline Brookes (Actors Studio). As he began telling the story of his recovery and discovery, a unique voice began to emerge in his talks that was at once both familiar and highly original: it was a mixture of traditional storytelling and "spiritual"-related comedy. He performed a series of one-man shows including Bed Set by Gordy Hoffman, Einstein Was Right and It's Not In Heaven while undergoing his conversions (three in all) to Judaism: first from Catholic to reform, then from reform to conservative and finally from conservative to orthodox. Chris changed his name to Yisrael and moved to Israel. He also tours with The Palestinian-Israeli Comedy Tour, a group of comedians bringing awareness to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and seeking peace through comedy.

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