Jews, Christians and Screwing Stalin written by Mark Lonow and Anne Aston, currently at the Matrix Theatre, begins with a ghostly figure, the patriarch of the family Murray Grazonsky [John Plashette]. The time is soon approaching Rosh Hashanah in 1967 and the location is a boarding house in Brooklyn, New York. The still living family members include Minka Grozonsky [Cathy Ladman], Joey [Hunter Milano] and David Grozonsky [Travis York]. That this family is a deep dysfunction becomes quickly obvious. David, Joey’s dad is an alcoholic desperately in search of money save his failing business. The relationship between him and his son Joey has fallen into deep antipathy but there are factors in play which may force them to resolve their issues Another element that invades the family homestead is the arrival of Caitlin McCathy-Heitler [Sammi Jack Martincak], a beautiful young woman from Dixie, bright eyed and cheery and soon to become formally brought into the Grazonsky family by virtue of the fact she is pregnant with a child created by her and Joey. Oh and there is just one other little issue that makes this situation even more disturbing to the family; Caitlin is also a Christian.
Wow! That is a lot of detail but what makes the show hilarious are the great performances from all of the actors as they present real life stressors. Is it even possible that Joey and his can recapture a good father/son relationship? And what elements of the family history can confuse and confound and prevent more positive relationships? How does that fact that Minka Grazonsky is the sister of the first President of Stalin’s Soviet Union. And oh yeah, there is that Stalin thin again. That there can be some differences between Jews and Christians is understandable, but does Stalin have to do with the Grazonsky family of Brooklyn, New York? Odds are the answer to that question will shock you.
I believe it is generally accepted that Jewish humor tends to be a bit on the dark side. One great example would be the late great Don Rickles who made a career out of being extremely dark yet side splittingly funny at the same time. Likewise in “Jews, Christians and Screwing Stalin” the humor is abundant, dark, deep and delicious. It is much easier to watch it and enjoy it than it is to try and explain it fully and properly in a review.
“Jews, Christians and Screwing Stalin is at the Matrix Theatre, 7657 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, CA. 90046 now through September 23rd, 2018. Reservations and ticketing available by calling: 323-960-4412 or online at: plays411 website.
For more fun including a recent radio interview with Cathy Ladman visit: 3amigosradioshow website