Original Cast of Joshua Harmon's Bad Jews Will Wander to an Off-Broadway Reunion This Fall

By Kenneth Jones
January 31, 2013

Bad Jews, Joshua Harmon's popular comedy that appeared in an extended run in the 62-seat Black Box Theatre in the Roundabout Underground series in fall 2012, will move upstairs this fall, to the larger Laura Pels Theatre. It's the first larger-contract Roundabout Theatre Company move of a title from the Underground, a new-works incubator.



Bad Jews, to begin Sept. 20, will feature its original cast — Tracee Chimo, Philip Ettinger, Molly Ranson and Michael Zegen — again under the direction of Daniel Aukin. The new limited run is part of Roundabout's 2013-14 subscription season.

Both the Black Box and the 420-seat Laura Pels are within the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre on West 46th Street.

Bad Jews was first performed at the inaugural Roundabout Underground Reading Series in February 2012 before being green-lighted for a full production in the Black Box Underground, where it opened Oct. 30 and played to Dec. 30. It was the seventh Roundabout Underground production.

Bad Jews, according to the Roundabout, is a comedy about the "holy and the holier-than-thou. Daphna Feygenbaum (Chimo) is a Real Jew — just ask the Israeli boyfriend she met on Birthright. So when her cousin Liam (Zegen) brings home his shiksa girlfriend Melody (Ranson) and declares ownership of their grandfather's Chai necklace, it sparks a viciously hilarious brawl over family, faith and legacy."

Roundabout Underground playwrights are commissioned to write a second play for Roundabout following their Black Box production. Harmon will be commissioned to write a second play.

The debut of this commissioning program was Stephen Karam's Sons of the Prophet, which won the 2012 New York Drama Critics Circle Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

Next, Steven Levenson's The Unavoidable Disappearance of Tom Durnin will premiere in summer 2013 (starting in June) at the Laura Pels Theatre. (Levenson's The Language of Trees was produced by Roundabout Underground in the Black Box in 2008).

On Jan. 31, RTC also announced that it will hold its second annual Roundabout Underground Reading series Feb. 25-March 1. Five up-and-coming playwrights and directors will have their plays read in the Black Box Theatre.

The plays in this year's series are Jonathan Caren's The Recommendation, directed by Laura Savia; Rachel Bonds' Swimmers, directed by Portia Krieger; Mat Smart's Tinker to Evers to Chance, directed by Jeremy B. Cohen; Christian Durso's Shiner, directed by Ed Sylvanus Iskandar; and Kate Gersten's Benefit of the Doubt, directed by Gaye Taylor Upchurch.

There will be one reading each night at 7 PM Feb. 25-March 1 in the Black Box Theatre in the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre (111 W. 46th St.). A limited number of tickets to the reading series will be available to general public.

For more information, visit roundabouttheatre.org.