May 2010

A Jew Grows in Brooklyn

Jake

By Ron Bennison
Photo by Carol Rosegg

Venue: The Panasonic Theatre – 651 Yonge St. Toronto
April 28 – May 16, 2010
Performance Schedule: Weds - Thurs 7:30 PM, Fri - Sat 8:00 PM, Weds, Sat, Sun 2:00 PM

This one-man show written, conceived and performed by Jake Ehrenreich, takes us on a journey of what it was like to grow up the son of Polish holocaust survivors in Brooklyn, New York in the ‘50’s. Accompanied by a 4 piece band on a set that looks like a Brooklyn tenement, the show is a coming of age tale of a man who discovers the most important thing in life is Mishpucha.

The show seems oddly disjointed at first as Ehrenreich starts the show with a Yiddish lullaby Yankele , then discusses his boyhood feelings of ostracism around that namesake while we watch a slideshow that seems to poke fun at his father – a man we will soon learn he has the utmost respect for. An immediate segue into back-to-back medleys of classic rock-and-roll songs and classic contemporary Christmas songs feels very out of place until Ehrenreich explains that all of these songs were written by Jewish people. So sets the stage for Ehrenreich honouring his roots, his family and his community for the new heritage they have created in the wake of genocide.