John Tillinger (Say Goodnight, Gracie) directed the Bryan Fogel and Sam Wolfson comedy, Jewtopia, which began Off-Broadway Sept. 28, 2004 and opened Oct. 21.
Jewtopia has also played a regional productions in Chicago with a new run currently playing at Florida's Broward Stage Door. Plans are in the works for Philadelphia, Toronto and Tel Aviv stagings and a 26-city North American tour in March of 2006. And Warner Books will publish "Jewtopia: The Book" in July 2006.
In one year of performances, the New York company have eaten more than 1,250 hammentaschen, 52 boxes of Streiz's matzah and drank over 400 bottles of "Manechevitz" (water with a little food coloring) on stage. All while making 22,572 costume changes for the multiple characters played by each performer.
Jewtopia follows the story of two single guys — a Jew and a gentile — on the verge of turning 30 who are obsessed with dating women of the other's religion. The two devise a plan to help both their causes — the Jewish man's quest to make his family happy and the gentile's mission to find a Jewish girl so he never needs to make another decision.
The original New York cast featured writers Fogel and Wolfson along with Cheryl David, Lorry Goldman, Irina Pantaeva, Jackie Tohn and Gerry Vichi. The work — which sold out its long run in Los Angeles, recouped its initial $625,000 capitalization for the Off-Broadway run in 20 weeks. Tillinger previously told Playbill.com that Jewtopia "pokes fun at a community that likes to have — I mean, Is my grandmother spinning in her grave? Yes, probably, but — that enjoys having that kind of fun poked at it and actually welcomes it." (To read the full interview, visit Playbill On-Line's Brief Encounter section.)
WEJ Productions and Jenkay present Jewtopia. The popular Jewish-Gentile comedy opened May 8, 2003 in California and enjoyed a year long run filled with sold out performances.
The design team of Jewtopia includes Patrick Fahey (set), Mike Baldassari (lighting), Cynthia Nordstrom (costume) and Kevin Lacy (sound).
Tickets to Jewtopia at The Westside Theatre, 407 West 43rd Street, (between Ninth and Tenth Ave.) are available by calling (212) 239-6200. For more information, visit www.jewtopiaplay.com.