BAD JEWS, JULY 11 – AUGUST 5 , 2018. A SERIOUSLY SMART COMEDY ABOUT FAMILY, FAITH, AND LEGACY. Tickets at americanstage.org | #asWTP
Hello! My name is Kara. I’m the Advancement Associate here at American Stage (which means I work in both the Marketing and Development departments). I’m also a huge fan of and advocate for the work that is presented on our stage. I’m a long time theatre lover and being a St. Pete native, I grew up going to American Stage in the Park (Shakespeare in the Park to folks in the area prior to 2005). Not completely unrelated, I was a huge drama nerd throughout school and went on to study Theatre at Flagler College in St. Augustine. Fast forward through a couple of internships, a short stint in New York, and a law firm job; and I’ve basically been working in some capacity for American Stage ever since.
Most of the time, I’m working ‘behind-the-scenes’ so to speak. I’m usually up in the 3rd floor offices (that most of you probably don’t know exist), creating the show playbills, updating the website, managing our social media…that sort of thing. Recently, however, I was given the opportunity to step into the limelight and spearhead our most recent Behind-the-Scenes/Community Conversation event for BAD JEWS – the final mainstage show in our 17/18 WE THE PEOPLE season.
When I first heard the title, I thought it was funny. I remembered back to when I was in the 6th grade, my friends and I were deep into our tutoring for our Bat and Bar Mitzvahs – spending every Tuesday evening, Wednesday evening, and Sunday morning in classes at our temple. We would throw the phrase around if we missed a class or had bacon for breakfast. But this title doesn’t sit quite the same with everyone. Being mindful of the title, American Stage wanted to open up the discussion to the community early on – and to keep the conversation going throughout the run of the play.The playwright, Joshua Harmon, was around my age when he wrote this play about 3 cousins dealing with the recent death of their Holocaust Survivor grandfather, ‘Poppy.’ One of the cousins, Liam, is a self-described ‘Bad Jew’ which he is said to proclaim while munching on shortbread cookies on Passover (a no-no if you are observing the holiday commemorating the liberation of the Jewish people from slavery in Egypt).
Our regularly scheduled Behind-the-Scenes which typically features an informative dramaturgical lecture and an interview with someone from the creative team was combined with Part 1 of a 2-part Community Conversation. We added a panel discussion about what it means to be young and Jewish to the mix. Also, as a Jewish Millennial myself, I was given the opportunity to create and present the dramaturgical information on the play, and moderate both the interview with Director Amy Resnick, and a panel of young Jewish St. Petians.
It was incredible! Our entire lobby filled with faces from our community, both familiar and new – all listening eagerly. Our panel discussion was the highlight for me. Falling within 25 – 35 years of age and from various Jewish backgrounds, the panelists covered topics ranging from questions posed by the Playwright, to Israel, to whether we thought our generation was prepared to handle the responsibility of remembering the Holocaust. This conversation brought us together for an opportunity to experience a deeper connection with one another, and with our community.
The best part is that it was only the beginning of the conversation. BAD JEWS begins on Wednesday, July 11th, and there are chatbacks with the cast scheduled on July 19 and 22 followed with Part 2 of our Community Conversation on July 29th directly following the performance discussing being American & Jewish, Today & Tomorrow.
I hope you’ll join the conversation. Visit americanstage.org for tickets and more information on all of the Community Engagement events planned throughout the run of the show, and check out the trailer below.
BAD JEWS opens NEXT WEEK(!) and runs through August 5th. Get more info and tickets by heading over to americanstage.org/BADJEWS.