A Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and a teacher of four Pulitzer Prize-winning playwrights, Paula Vogel made her Broadway debut with Indecent April 18 at the Cort Theatre. The tale of the European theatre troupe who performed Sholom Asch’s God of Vengeance around Europe and New York—suffering arrest for public obscenity on the stage—the play deals with themes of homophobia, anti-Semitism, immigration, and more set across four decades at the start of the 20th century.
It’s a lot to tackle in one work—let alone in the hour and 45 minutes of this play. “I wasn’t sure, at first, if I could do it,” Vogel told Playbill on the opening night red carpet, livestreamed via Facebook. “It scared me.”
But Vogel, never one to shy away from controversial and provocative topics, took on the challenge. “The tricky thing is: How do we look at something that hurts us as a country but how do we also celebrate who we are as a country and how do we do that in the same piece?” she asked. “I hope the dance and the joy and who our ancestors were, that pride and that celebration pulls us through the piece.”
Director Rebecca Taichman explained that she and Vogel worked to invite the audience inside the story through any means possible—music, dance, subtitles. “I felt like I was spinning nine plates simultaneously in the air,” said Taichman. “Figuring it out was very mysterious and thrilling. I’ve been challenged by this on every cylinder, in every cell.”
To hear more from Vogel and Taichman, composers Lisa Gutkin and Aaron Halva, choreographer David Dorfman, and actors Katrina Lenk, Mimi Lieber, Max Gordon Moore, Tom Nelis, Steven Rattazzi, Richard Topol, and Adina Verson, watch the Livestream above.