One of the unlikeliest Broadway hits of the past decade was Catskills on Broadway, a grouping of comedians for whom "cutting edge" meant a Gillette razor and "hip" meant something you had to replace after an accident. Nevertheless, audiences roared at these journeymen, who spent years honing their ethnic and PG-rated humor in the mountain and Friar's Club circuit. The show solidified Freddie Roman's career as the toastmaster general after Georgie Jessel, and gave Mal Z. Lawrence and Dick Capri name recognition they'd never had as Borscht Belt headliners.
Now an offshoot of that stand-up comedy night has come to New York City's Town Hall. Titled Borscht Belt Buffet On Broadway, the joke telling evening takes on an ultra-Yiddish tint, what with Catskills' Lawrence joined by Bruce Adler and David `Dudu' Fisher. Performances began Oct. 24, and the show ends its run Nov. 6.
An intermissionless evening, Borscht Belt Buffet will offer Adler's mix of Yiddish theatre musical nostalgia and comedy, as well as his Broadway showtune chops; Fisher's pop and cantorial song stylings, and Lawrence's side-splitters. All three have legit stage credits: Adler was a Tony nominee for Crazy For You and recently appeared in Anything Goes at NJ's Paper Mill Playhouse. Fisher, an Israeli singing star, has played Jean Valjean in Miss Saigon on Broadway and all over the world. Lawrence's NYC credits include the recent Candide revival and the recent Straight Jacket Off Broadway.
Stirring Borscht will be director Dan Siretta and musical directors Michael Tornick (for Adler) and Gil Nagel (for Fisher), conducting the Golden Land Orchestra. Zalman Mlotek, an expert on Jewish music, serves as music supervisor. Designing the show are Tom Sturge (lighting) and Eminent Productions (sound). Presented by Arie Kaduri for NYK Productions, Inc., Borscht Belt Buffet On Broadway is associate produced by Arnold Graham and Howard Rapp.
For tickets $35-$55 and information on BBBOB at Town Hall (which is not a Broadway theatre, by the way), call (212) 307-4100. -- By David Lefkowitz