The challenges faced by Holocaust survivors and their families are confronted by Jake Ehrenreich as he honors the survivors of that horrible era in his poignant one man show. Armed only with his music, his humor and his memories, “A Jew Grows In Brooklyn” simultaneously brings the audience to laughter and tears at Queens Theatre in the Park through August 21.
After a long run in NYC and around the country, Ehrenreich returns to the five boroughs with his musical nostalgia. At QTP’s opening weekend show, larger than life photos of his own Bar Mitzvah, the Catskill Mountain resorts of the Borscht Belt and his parents (both Holocaust survivors) become main characters in the retelling of his personal journey.
The 100 minute show is by no means a sad event. The three piece back up band (Larry Cohen, Jonathan Hurley, Jeff Potter) plays brilliantly as they don crazy hats, moustaches and other props to join in the reminiscences. Costumes by his wife (and muse) Lisa, and the background set showing his Brooklyn front door, stoop and brickface (by Luke Hadsall), allow Ehrenreich to use his charm and sincerity to earn the audience’s approval. His voice is outstanding, and his mastery of brass and percussion instruments is excellent.
Co-directed with Jon Huberth, the audience is given a joke filled, Yiddish laced lecture that is as affectionate as it is humorous. Anyone who has ever faced the uncertainties of a new home or new neighborhood, no matter the ethnicity, will be touched by Ehrenreich’s melodious and very funny re-creations.
Gift wrapped with his sincere smiles, unabashed pride in his heritage and an undeniable connection with the audience, “A Jew Grows in Brooklyn” fits everyone’s “must do” list this summer. Call the box office at Queens Theatre in the Park for tix and directions – 718-760-0064 – or click on www.queenstheatre.org.
There’s plenty of summer entertainment before Labor Day signals the new fall theatre season. As always, save me a seat on the aisle.