This fall God suddenly shows up for therapy in Israeli playwright Anat Gov’s “divine comedy,” running September 14-30, at the Pluss Theatre in Denver’s Staenburg-Loup Jewish Community Center. Produced by Theatre Or,* in collaboration with the Mizel Arts and Culture Center, Oh My God! is an early selection of JAAMM Fest (Jewish Arts, Authors, Music and Movies). God will also materialize at the Robert and Judi Newman Performing Arts Center on the University of Denver Campus for two performances on October 6; and he will then appear for two performances in Boulder on October 13 and 14, in collaboration with the Boulder Jewish Community Center.
Despite Rabbi Soloway’s busy fall schedule, he has agreed to make his debut in the title role earlier than originally planned, taking on the Sunday matinee on September 30 at the Denver JCC. Chris Bleau continues as God through September 30 at the Pluss Theatre at the JCC Denver and at the Newman Center October 6 at 2:00 p.m. Tickets still remain for all performances at the Pluss Theatre September 21-30, the Newman Center October 6 and the Boulder JCC October 13 – 14.
In Gov’s play God suffers an existential crisis and seeks out an earthly secular therapist to help relieve his angst. Ella, who has her own issues, has but one hour to convince God not to destroy his creation. She finds it difficult to help a “being” who has no parents to blame. At times it is not clear who is therapist to whom.
“We are placing this production in three area venues,” remarks Theatre Or Producing Artistic Director, Diane Gilboa. “We actually double cast the show and will have two totally different productions. Beloved Boulder Rabbi Marc Soloway will play God, but unfortunately he is not available for our September run at the Pluss Theatre, because of the Jewish High Holidays. So in order for him to perform in Denver, we must transport the production to the Newman Center on the University of Denver campus to accommodate his schedule. And then he will appear in the Boulder Jewish Community Center, making this a true community collaboration. As a result, we’re building the set to tour, so Oh My God! is portable and can reach audiences throughout the state.”
Rabbi Soloway’s enthusiasm for his role as God is apparent. “After a 20 year break from the stage for the bimah, I am excited and nervous to have the awesome opportunity to play God in this audacious play by Anat Gov. The absurd premise of God’s existential crisis makes for some good comedy, but also raises some profound and troubling questions about the nature of faith and doubt in a confusing and painful world.”
Susan Rona, Senior Programming Director at the Boulder JCC, believes “we have a sure fire hit with a beloved local rabbi playing the title role. This production fulfills a mission to bring live theater to the new J. Rabbi Marc Soloway is sure to be a huge draw – a British stage-trained actor tackling the role of a lifetime.” Kathryn Bernheimer, Cultural Arts Director at the Boulder J, added that “the Boulder JCC is thrilled to showcase Levin Hall, a spectacular and versatile event space making its debut as a theater, with the perfect play for our community.”
Rabbi Soloway will appear in the title role in the October 6 performance at 8 p.m. at the Newman Center and in Boulder at the JCC at 8 p.m. on Saturday, October 13, and again on Sunday, October 14, at 4 p.m.
According to Gilboa, “In the majority of performances, God will be played by the versatile actor Chris Bleau. Bleau, who recently appeared in Theatre Or’s workshop production of Rochelah’s Wedding, will have a very different approach to the role. And we have two great therapists in acclaimed area actresses Sheila Ivy Traister and Gina Walker, who will alternate as God’s psychologist. Two other actors – Ryan Stack and Anthony Colangelo – will alternate as the therapist’s autistic son. Bonnie Greene, a graphic design artist who created the show’s logo, will stage manage; and Star Pytel will design lights.”
Director Richard H. Pegg, who has directed several of Theatre Or’s productions, responded “Oh my God,” when Gilboa approached him to direct a contemporary play about God. “Exactly,” she replied. “That’s the title.” He too feels challenged, but excited, to direct two different productions of the same play simultaneously. Pegg believes that patrons who enjoy the show the first time can return for a second performance with an entirely new cast and see a vastly different, but equally valid interpretation.
The Mizel Arts & Culture Center’s Executive Director Steve Wilson “is delighted that our long-time partner, Theatre Or, who has recently produced several plays off-site as part of our JAAMM Festival, will return to our very own Pluss Theatre this fall. Theatre Or will produce the regional premiere of a terrific Israeli play as part of our ongoing celebration of Israel at 70. The play offers a hilarious conceit – God on the therapist’s couch! But layered within this comedy is a measure of pathos that will make you laugh and cry and ponder the meaning of life! It is not to be missed!! We are equally delighted to partner with the Boulder JCC to bring the show to Boulder audiences.”
The Mizel Arts and Culture Center. The Newman Center. The Boulder JCC. And then the show is available to tour. Definitely this fall God is everywhere! And afterward, he can travel beyond…
For information about the show and touring, contact Theatre Or at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 303-801-5122.
Tickets are available at each venue listed below and at www.theatre.com
*Or is the Hebrew word for light.
Theatre Or, the Mizel Arts and Culture Center, The Robert and Judi Newman Center for the Performing Arts, and the Boulder Jewish Community Center
Oh My God!
By Anat Gov
A Regional Premiere! God goes to therapy!
September 14 – October 14, 2018
Performance Schedule by Venue
Ticket prices vary by venue $15 – $35
For tickets, select by the venue you wish to attend
September 14 – September 30
The Mizel Arts and Culture Center at the Denver Staenberg-Loup Jewish Community Center
Pluss Theatre 350 South Dahlia Street, Denver, Colorado 80246
- Friday and Saturday, September 28 -29, 7:30 p.m.
- Thursday, September 27, 7:30 p.m.*
- Sunday, September 30, 2:00 p.m. with Rabbi Soloway as God
For tickets, go to maccjcc.org, and click Buy Tickets or call 303-316-6360.
For groups of 8 or more, contact Theatre Or at email@example.com or call 303-801-5122
October 6 (Rabbi Soloway performs at 8 p.m.)
The Robert and Judi Newman Center for the Performing Arts
Hamilton Recital Hall, University of Denver – enter lobby and follow signs, 2344 East Iliff Avenue, Denver, Colorado 80208
Saturday, 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.*
For tickets, go to newmantix.com, or call 303-871-7720
For groups of 8 or more, contact Theatre Or at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 303-801-5122
October 13 – 14 (Rabbi Soloway performs.)
Boulder Jewish Community Center 6007 Oreg Avenue, Boulder CO 80303
- Saturday, October 13, 8:00 p.m.*
- Sunday, October 14, 4:00 p.m.*
For tickets, go to boulderjcc.org, or call 720-749-2530.
Ask about group sales.
*Denotes post-show talk-back; others may be added
About Theatre Or
Theatre Or, a non-profit 501c3 theatre company, aims to introduce works that the entire community should not ordinarily see anywhere else. “Our mission is to produce professional provocative theatre with Jewish perspective and universal appeal,” according to Gilboa. “Our last shows were Buyer and Cellar (a co-production with Lowry’s Spotlight Theater), Kindertransport, and the musical My Mother’s Lesbian Jewish Wiccan Wedding by David Hein and Irene Sankoff. Theatre Or was one of a only a handful of regional theaters given the rights to MMLJWWW. We are thrilled that Hein and Sankoff’s second musical, Come from Away, is now a Broadway hit coming to DCPA this fall. So proud that Denver audiences saw them here first.
Theatre Or is one of a handful of regional theaters in the U.S. that develops and produces Israeli plays in translation, including American premieres.
About the Mizel Arts and Culture Center
The Mizel Arts and Culture Center “illuminates the Human Experience” through creative and cultural programs in the performing, visual, cinematic, and literary arts for the Jewish community and the Denver community at large. We strive to produce, present, exhibit, preserve, and advance the arts, serving as a performance and exhibition venue, as well as an educational resource for people at every stage of life.
The Mizel Arts and Culture Center is one of the Rocky Mountain region’s premier arts organizations. Located on the campus of the Staenberg-Loup Jewish Community Center, the Mizel Center is a separate non-profit organization guided by a mission that is focused specifically on arts and cultural programs. The Mizel Arts and Culture Center is proud to be a Tier II member of the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SFCD), along with organizations such as the Colorado Symphony, Colorado Ballet and Central City Opera. For more please visit maccjcc.org.
About the Staenberg-Loup Jewish Community Center (JCC Denver)
JCC Denver serves the metro-Denver area through educational, social, cultural, fitness, sports and other programs that are rooted in Jewish values. The JCC Denver’s mission is to create a vibrant and inclusive family and social gathering place, guided by these timeless Jewish values. The J’s four program areas focus on connection, community and well-being and include: a robust fitness, sports, tennis and aquatic center; Early Childhood Engagement, including an Early Learning School and a variety of programs for families; the Mizel Arts and Culture Center which offers Denver Children’s Theatre, JAAMM Fest (Jewish Arts, Authors, Movies & Music), Denver Jewish Film Festival, Wolf Summer Theater Academy, Art Academy and adult art classes; summer camps including Ranch Camp and Camp Shai; intergenerational and older adult programming like the Grandparent Connect Group and Jewish Aging Mastery Program (JAMP). The JCC Denver is located at 350 S. Dahlia Street in Denver. For more information, visit jccdenver.org, or call 303-399-2660.
About the Boulder Jewish Community Center
Founded in 1984, the Boulder Jewish Community Center [Boulder JCC], a 501c3 nonprofit, is a dynamic center for community; it serves as a convener and is also an educational institution.. In June 2016, the Boulder JCC opened its new 10-acre campus and 2+ acre educational farm, supported through donations from over 850 individuals, families, and foundations. Recognized both nationally and internationally for its innovative approaches to engagement and education, the Boulder JCC is a center for community that is open and welcoming to all. The Boulder JCC is both a destination for meaningful gatherings and events and is a central address of Jewish life in Boulder County and beyond. Since opening the new campus, the Boulder JCC has welcomed over 20,000 community members annually. The Boulder JCC is located at 6007 Oreg Avenue in Boulder. For more information, visit boulderjcc.org, or call 303-998-1900.