Pixel Tracker

Saturday, November 17 , 2018, 6:07 am | Overcast 50º


Ensemble Theatre Company Presents Hit Comedy ‘Bad Jews’

Ensemble Theatre Company at the New Vic continues its exciting 2015-16 season with playwright Joshua Harmon’s savagely hilarious Bad Jews, an uproarious and thought-provoking exploration of faith and family.

Directed by Jonathan Fox, Bad Jews performs in Santa Barbara April 14 through May 1, 2016. The company will then travel to Frankfurt for the German premiere production.

In Bad Jews, Daphna Feygenbaum swears she is the most devout Jew in her family. After all, she has plans of joining a vegan rabbinical school in Israel.

But when her less observant and equally opinionated cousin, Liam, arrives after their grandfather’s funeral to lay claim to his cherished chai necklace, a hilarious battle between the holy and holier-than-thou ignites.

A cramped Manhattan apartment becomes the setting for a sidesplitting quarrel about family and faith with Liam’s blissfully naïve girlfriend, Melody, and his younger brother, Jonah, caught in the middle.

The sometimes-controversial play, whose posters were banned from the London Tube system on the grounds that it could cause “widespread or serious offence,” will carry a special significance in its German premiere production at English Theatre Frankfurt.

“It’s exciting to be taking ETC’s production of Bad Jews to Germany for its premiere there,” said Fox, ETC’s executive artistic director. “The play presents interesting challenges — not least of which is its title, which is how non-observant Jews often refer to themselves — but I think the play speaks to the thorny dynamics within all families and speaks in a very funny way.”

This is ETC’s second international collaboration. In 2008, ETC took its production of Old Wicked Songs to Vienna, where it was the Austrian premiere of the play.

Bad Jews received its world premiere at Roundabout Underground and was the first production to transfer to the Roundabout’s Laura Pels Theatre (Outer Critics Circle and Lucille Lortel Award nominations, Best Play).

The play has become one of the most popular comedies of recent years, taking Broadway and the West End by storm. The New York Times hails Bad Jews as “the best comedy of the season,” and the New York Post proclaims it’s “delicious, nasty, good fun.”

The breakthrough script for Bad Jews catapulted playwright Joshua Harmon into the global theater spotlight. Acclaimed as “cheerfully fearless” by the Chicago Tribune, Harmon’s work has been produced and developed by Manhattan Theatre Club, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Hangar Theatre, Ars Nova and Actor’s Express, where he was the 2010-11 National New Play Network Playwright-in-Residence.

He has received fellowships from MacDowell, Atlantic Center for the Arts, SPACE at Ryder Farm and the Eudora Welty Foundation.

Harmon is a recent graduate of Juilliard and is currently at work on commissions for Roundabout Theatre Company and Lincoln Center Theater. His newest play, Significant Other, opened at Roundabout this summer to rave reviews.

Making her ETC debut as the fiery and ferocious Daphna is Eden Malyn, who returns to the stage after making a major splash in television.

Malyn’s TV credits include the wildly popular American Horror StoryCriminal MindsCastle and House of Lies. She will be featured in a recurring role of Erin Sikowitz on seasons three and four of Netflix’s Orange is the New Black.  

Starring opposite Daphna in the role of Liam is Adam Silver, who earned an Ovation Award nomination for his performance in Stupid F*cking Bird at Theater @ Boston Court.

Silver’s additional Los Angeles credits include Sleepless in Seattle at Pasadena Playhouse and Sons of the Prophet at The Blank Theatre. He has also been seen in Chicago in Steppenwolf’s productions of Cross Town and No Place Like Home, as well as Second City’s Unauthorized Biography.

Rounding out the talented young cast is Cory Kahane in the role of Jonah, which he recently performed at Chicago’s Theater Wit and Royal George Theatre, and Stephanie Burden as Melody, who has been featured in performances at Fords Theatre, the Walt Disney Concert Hall, The Kennedy Center and Round House Theatre in Maryland.

The design team for Bad Jews includes scenic designer Charlie Corcoran, costume designer Dianne K. Graebner and lighting designer Pablo Santiago.

The 2015-16 ETC season has been generously sponsored by The Stephen and Carla Hahn Foundation. Production support for Bad Jews comes from Ruth and Alan Heeger, with additional support from Sybil Rosen.

Founded in 1979, Ensemble Theatre Company is Santa Barbara’s leading professional, resident theater company. Under the leadership of Executive Artistic Director Jonathan Fox, ETC has attracted accomplished performing artists from around the country.

The 2015-16 Season is its third in the New Vic, ETC’s newly renovated 294-seat performing arts venue.

Tickets are currently on sale for the 2015-16 Season, which ends with Noël Coward’s Fallen Angels (June 9-26, 2016).

Performances for Bad Jews run Wednesdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 2 and 7 p.m., with a Saturday 4 p.m. matinee performance April 23 and a Tuesday 7 p.m. show April 19.

Youth tickets are available for age 29-and-under for only $20 each. Single tickets are available through the ETC box office at 805.965.5400 or online at etcsb.org.

For group sales information, call 805.965.5400.

— Charlie Rohlfs is the director of marketing and public relations at Ensemble Theatre Company.


Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.