Once upon a time there was a beautiful princess. Every Sunday she crosses the mighty Delancey to visit her beloved grandmother in a magic kingdom to learn about life. She is infatuated with an evil knight who toys with her affections. One day, a gentle farmer learns about this lonely princess from a well-meaning, but somewhat befuddled, villager. The farmer challenges the evil knight to a duel. Who will win the hand of the lovely maiden?
Well, not exactly. The beautiful princess is actually a timid book store clerk named Isabelle (Sara Fellini). The grandmother is her worldly wise “Bubbie,” played by veteran actress Sonya Tannenbaum. The magic kingdom is New York’s lower east side. The mighty Delancey is Delancey Street. The evil knight is an arrogant, small market author. The farmer is a humble, but clever, pickle seller. The meddling villager is a matchmaker.
Despite the mundane realities of the story, it is as charming a fairy tale as any written in centuries past. Director Kevin C. Vincent has taken a talented cast, split the stage into three simple sets and kept the lighting (by John Palmieri) straightforward.
Although peppered with many Yiddish expressions, the romantic comedy could apply to any culture or ethnicity. Lovely Sara Fellini ably portrays a bookworm who fantasizes about fleeing her roots, only to realize there is no shame in her background. Sonya Tannenbaum is effortlessly convincing as the clever (and often conniving) grandparent who deeply cares about her granddaughter. She is both blunt and charming, always managing to say exactly what’s on her mind.
Sam, the pickle man (Rick Brody), is as sincere as they come. He is intelligent, soft spoken, respectful and proud of both his heritage and his pickles. What’s not to like? Conversely, Tyler (Keith Junas), the little known author, is insufferably self important. He objectifies women and his questionable charm quickly wears thin. The overbearing, but well-intentioned matchmaker, Hannah, is played by community veteran Dana Jaffe. She is at her best when feigning cluelessness in business referrals to relatives and retelling how she literally pushed her husband to the brink.
The Douglaston Community Theatre presents “Crossing Delancey” on weekends until the end of the month. They perform at the Zion Episcopal Church Parish Hall on 44th Ave off of Douglaston Parkway. Call 718-482-3332 for tickets.