Is playing at Studio 54 at 254 West 54th Street. The musical opened April 28, 2011 and will run until June 19, 2011.
The musical takes place in the 1970's. It's about three generations of a female Jewish family. The grandmother Bubbie/Raisel (Donna Murphy) is telling her grandaughter Jenny (Rachel Reseff) about the people in the photograph. The people in the picture were in Poland prior to 1940. Grandma was in the Yiddish Theatre and her friends in the picture are from the theatre. Bubbie's lover and father of her daughter Red (Nicole Parker) leaves for Hollywood not knowing she is pregnant with his child. Her friend from the theatre Moishe Rosenwald (Alexander Gemignani) marries her even though he is gay. Once the Nazi's take over, her life and those of her friends are hell. Avram Krinsky (Lewis Stalden), Chayesel Fisher (Joyce Van Patten), Yossie Pinsker (Chip Zien and Doovie Feldman (Hal Robinson).The story switche from the past to the present. We learn of a granddaughter who loves her grandmother dearly and a daughter who resents her. Bubbie greatest problem is old age is catching up to her. She's become forgetful of the things in the present like leaving the kettle on or forgetting to take her medicine.
This is a wonderful story of teaching the past to future generations, of resolving problems in the present before it's to late and accepting the future that we can not change. What we can not change is our parents getting old and no longer capable of taking care of themselves. It hit a nerve for a few people in the audience as I heard the person next to me let out a sob.
The orchestra is no longer located in the pit. In this musical they were located in the box seats.
The set is minimum and is made up of picture frames. A desk or a table will appear in some scences. It was designed by Riccardo Hernandez. He was nominated for a Tony and Drama Desk award for Parade.
Donna Murphy is a two time Tony winner for her roles in Our Song and the 1996 revival of The King and I. She said in an article in The New York Dailey News "research is always an essential and exciting part of my preparation for every character I have ever played." " Over the past year and a half, since doing the first workshop, I have read every article and book I could get my hands on and viewed documentaries and Yiddish films featuring performers of that time". It shows in her interpretation as both the young and older grandmother. Her performance pulls at your heart strings. I needed a tissue when the musical ended.
Review by Rozanna Radakovich.
Photos by Annazor