Grippo Stage Company is pleased to present a revival of the touching and humorous play THE GOD OF ISAAC, playwright James Sherman’s semi-autobiographical account of a young American Jew searching for his Jewish identity in the wake of the threatened neo-Nazi march in the Chicago suburb of Skokie in 1977. The new production is helmed by Dennis Začek, who directed the play's world premiere at Victory Gardens Theater in 1985, the beginning of a decades-long collaboration between Sherman and Začek. THE GOD OF ISAAC will play July 8 – August 27, 2017 at Piven Theatre at Noyes Cultural Arts Center, 927 Noyes St. in Evanston. Tickets are currently available at grippostagecompany.com or by calling (800) 838-3006. The press opening is Monday, July 10, 2017 at 8 pm.
The cast of THE GOD OF ISAAC includes Jolie Lepselter, Brian Rabinowitz, Charles Schoenherr, T. Isaac Sherman, Anita Silvert and Annabel Steven.
When Isaac Adams, a second generation American Jew, learns of plans for a neo-Nazi group to stage a demonstration in Skokie, Illinois, he wonders what, if anything, his involvement should be. Determined to find the truth, Isaac ultimately comes to terms with his heritage, his mother and himself. Since its world premiere at Chicago’s Victory Gardens Theater in 1985, THE GOD OF ISAAC has enjoyed productions worldwide.
“When I opened the play in 1985, the idea of a Neo-Nazi group marching in Skokie was deeply disturbing, particularly since the community was heavily populated with Holocaust survivors at the time,” comments playwright James Sherman. “I never imagined that 30 years later the questions raised in the play would suddenly feel so resonant and topical, with white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups once again making news headlines nationwide.”
The production team for THE GOD OF ISAAC includes: Nels Anderson and Abigail Reed (scenic design), Liana Prokopis (costume design), Michael Rathbun (lighting design), Nathan Speckman (sound design), Jake Engram (lighting asst.), Don Vanasek (general manager/photography), Josh A. Raether (stage manager) and Hannah Siglin (asst. stage manager).
Title: THE GOD OF ISAAC
Playwright: James Sherman
Director: Dennis Začek
Cast: Jolie Lepselter (Chaya), Brian Rabinowitz (Actor I), Charles Schoenherr (Actor II), T. Isaac Sherman (Isaac), Anita Silvert (Ma) and Annabel Steven (Shelly).
Location: Piven Theatre, Noyes Cultural Arts Center, 927 Noyes St., Evanston
Dates: Previews: Saturday, July 8 at 3 pm & 8 pm and Sunday, July 9 at 3 pm
Press Opening: Monday, July 10 at 8 pm
Regular Run: Friday, July 14 – Sunday, August 27, 2017
Curtain Times: Fridays at 8 pm; Saturdays at 3 pm and 8 pm; Sunday at 3 pm.
Industry Night: Tuesday, July 11 at 8 pm
Tickets: Regular run: $39. Tickets are available at grippostagecompany.com or by calling (800) 838-3006. Group discounts available. For group sales, contact Em Hall at firstname.lastname@example.org or (773) 322-7296.
About the Creative Team
James Sherman (Playwright) is the author of the plays Magic Time, The God of Isaac, Mr. 80%, The Escape Artist, Beau Jest, This Old Man Came Rolling Home, Jest a Second!, Romance in D, From Door to Door, The Old Man’s Friend, Affluenza!, Half and Half, Relatively Close, Jacob and Jack and The Ben Hecht Show. James was a theatre student at Illinois State University in the early 1970s. He began his professional career as a writer and performer with The Second City in Chicago and received an M.F.A. degree from Brandeis University. In 1985, he began his long association with the Tony Award-winning Victory Gardens Theater in Chicago and he was a Founding Member of the Victory Gardens Playwrights Ensemble. Beau Jest, Magic Time, The God of Isaac, Mr. 80%, Jest a Second!, Romance in, From Door to Door, Affluenza!, Half and Half and Jacob and Jack have been published and are regularly produced by theatres throughout the U.S. and have also been seen in Canada, Mexico, South America, England, Germany, Austria, Turkey, South Africa, Australia, China and Korea. In the summer of 2006, James wrote and directed the movie of his play, Beau Jest, starring Lainie Kazan, Seymour Cassel and Robyn Cohen. James currently teaches Playwriting and Improvisation at Columbia College Chicago and DePaul University. He has been a teacher of Playwriting and Acting on the faculties of The Second City Training Center, Chicago Dramatists Workshop and Victory Gardens Theater. In 2001, he was a visiting professor in Seoul, South Korea at the Korean National University of the Arts. He has led workshops in Improvisation at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California. He has been the recipient of fellowships from The MacDowell Colony, the Ragdale Foundation, The Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and Yaddo. He is a member of The Dramatists Guild of America. He lives in Chicago.
Dennis Začek (Director) is Artistic Director Emeritus of Victory Gardens Theater where he held the position of Artistic Director for 34 years. He recently accepted the Actors’ Equity Association’s (AEA) Spirit Recognition Award. The Spirit Award is given to institutions that “have made non-traditional casting a way of life.” He also received the 2005 Jeff Award for Outstanding Achievement in Chicago Equity Theatre. He, his wife Marcelle McVay, and the theater are co-recipients of the 2001 Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre. He is also the recipient of the 2004 Artistic Leadership Award from the League of Chicago Theatres. Začek and Ms. McVay received the 1999 Rosetta Lenoire Award from Actors’ Equity and the 1998 Sidney R. Yates Arts Advocacy Award from the Illinois Arts Alliance Foundation. Currently, he holds the position of Resident Director at the Fringe Theater in Key West. Začek is a professor emeritus of Loyola University and was included in 2005 in Utne magazine’s first-ever list of “Artists Who Will Shake the World.” He has directed more than 250 productions. Also, he is the world’s greatest authority on James Sherman having directed the world premieres of fourteen of Sherman’s plays.
About Grippo Stage Company
Grippo Stage Company focuses on cultural diversity, with a special interest in exploring Jewish themes and heritage and giving voice to Jewish playwrights and ideas. It is pro-Israel and uses theater to fight anti-Semitism. It is a 501 (c) (3) company. During its inaugural season in the summer of 2016, Grippo presented two world premieres: The Ben Hecht Show, written and performed by James Sherman; and Confessions of a P.I.M.P., written and performed by four time Tony Award nominee André De Shields.
Substantial support for THE GOD OF ISAAC is provided by Steve and Diane Miller.
THE GOD OF ISAAC is not produced by or affiliated with Piven Theatre Workshop.