Skip to main content

A Jew Grows in Brooklyn - Coming to Toronto

A Jew Grows in Brooklyn
Panasonic Theatre Toronto - April 28 - May 16

"I'm very happy to be back in Canada - just in time for the Olympics," quips Jake Ehrenreich, writer and performer of the hit one man play A Jew Grows in Brooklyn. After a run of well over a year at New York's venerable Lamb's Theatre (and breaking some box office records in the process,) the well reviewed show will be hitting Toronto later this month. "I drove from New York last night - took me 7 hours," he claimed to laughs (from those of us that have ever driven that torturous 10 hour route) at a recent media event.

Billed as "a rock'n roll true story, Holocaust family, Borscht Belt comic musical", Jake's autobiographical show clearly has a Jewish theme, yet he describes issues and ideas that can be appreciated on a universal level. "I wrote the show about my journey of self discovery. I wanted to be anything but like my parents." Amen to that.

The Holocaust cast its insidious shadow into Jake's life as a child, resulting in an overriding desire to create an identity for himself that was American above all. "I needed American credentials to offset the fact that my parents were immigrants," he says. Baseball was one of his solutions. "It was as American as applepie, and that's what I wanted to be." In the show, he describes getting his father, an intellectual man, to watch his first game of baseball with his son when Jake was 9, in 1965. His father's response? "What kind of game is this baseball? Two people play and eight people watch!"

Despite its potentially darker themes, including the early onset Alzheimer's that struck his mother and both sisters, the baseball line is typical of the upbeat mood of the show - it's necessary to find hope to move on. Another aspect of his all-American identity was a career in music as a professional drummer. He toured the world with the Beatlemania show as Ringo, among other gigs. "I almost got the gig to play with KISS when Peter Criss left," he says (the 1979 leaving, I'm presuming). He gets out the drums for a rousing solo during the show.

Part song and dance, with the music coming from several eras in English and Yiddish, part storytelling, part stand up comedy, it features a re-creation of the golden era of Catskills Borscht Belt entertainment, among many other scenes.

Being a personal story, Jake says the most rewarding responses come from people who come up to him after the show and simply want to tell him about their own experiences. Publishers of the original Chicken Soup series of books approached Jake after one of his shows with a proposal - to write a book based on his story, but specifically incorporating some of the life lessons he'd learned along the way, à la Chicken Soup of course. It was a match made in heaven. "Part of my mission is really to heal the world," Jake admits. You can check out an excerpt here and order it here.

Photos by Carol Rosegg

Comments

What Else Is Hot This Week?

FACTORY presents World Premiere ACTS OF FAITH November 19 to 28 2020 - Free Livestream

 From a media release: World Premiere FACTORY presents  ACTS OF FAITH by David Yee Directed by Nina Lee Aquino Starring Natasha Mumba November 19 – 28, 2020 @ 7:30PM Streamed live for 6 performances Free of charge TORONTO (October 19, 2020) - To kick off its groundbreaking 2020/21 season, Factory presents the world premiere of acts of faith, by multi-award winning Asian Canadian playwright David Yee, directed by Nina Lee Aquino, and starring Natasha Mumba. Written specifically to be performed for a digital platform, acts of faith will stream live to audiences at home for six performances, November 19-28, 2020.  Thanks to the generous support of the TD Bank Group, admission is being offered entirely free of charge to audiences across the country and beyond. acts of faith tells a story about the power of faith, the inescapable persistence of our online identities, and the nature of truth in a digital age. The story follows Faith, a young woman who gets mistaken for a prophet. When a ques

Jewellery With A Conscience: Kind Karma

Jewellery With A Conscience: Kind Karma Check Out The Collection Kind Karma blends timeless jewellery with a social conscience. Founded in Toronto in 2017, the company makes classic jewellery pieces using a unique business model - the artisans who produce the handmade pieces are at-risk and homeless youth.  "I always wanted to be an entrepreneur," explains founder Laurinda Lee-Retter. "I wanted to give back." She combined her passions in Kind Karma. Laurinda serves as designer for the jewellery line, with pieces that are classic and minimalist, and that can be worn with anything. "I made jewellery as a hobby when I was young," she says.  The jewellery is then crafted by hand by the young artisans from sterling silver or gold fill, a durable construction that uses multiple layers of real gold over jeweller's brass. The result is much more resilient than gold plate. All the pieces are hypoallergenic, won't tarnish, and are designed to last for years

Fashionable Fabrics For A Cause: Vlisco Raises Over $500K For DRC's City Of Joy

From a media release: Vlisco Raises Over $500K To Help Female Survivors Of Violence In The DRC The donation will fund the building of a creative and textiles school in the City of Joy  Vlisco to relaunch collection targeting $1M in donations For more information or to buy click here November 2020 – Dutch wax textile fabric company, Vlisco, is donating a total of $512,000 (USD) to fund a new fashion school and production workshop in the City of Joy, a women’s transformational sanctuary in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  The announcement marks one year since the company launched a special collection honouring the “world’s strongest women,” symbolising their recovery from rape and trauma, and their journey from pain to power. City of Joy collection by Oritsegbubemi Ogisi - Photo by Atong Atem for Vlisco The original collection was showcased to a global audience by the women of the City of Joy at a gala event in Kinshasa on November 25th 2019. Five female, African fashion designers

Travel By The Glass: Seven Cocktails From Around The World

Travel By The Glass: Seven Cocktails From Around The World W e may not be able to travel, listen to live music or eat in restaurants, but we can always drink. Here's a look at some famous cocktails, and the stories surrounding their origins from all over the world. The Bloody Caesar (Calgary, Alberta Canada) The story goes that back in 1969, the Calgary Inn asked bartender Walter Chell to create a new cocktail to celebrate the opening of a new restaurant inside the hotel. Taking his inspiration from the restaurant's Italian cuisine, it took him fully three months to ocme up with the Caesar - as inspired by spaghetti alla vongole, which is essentially pasta with clam sauce.  Chell crushed clams for their juices, mixing it with tomato juice and spices. The classic version includes clam nectar - nowadays more often substituted by Clamato juice - Worcestershire sauce and celery salt. In an interview, Chell said he also added a dash of oregano. Image by Alexas_Fotos (Pixabay)  The M

Electric RnB: Tropic Return With New Single 'Down'

From a media release: Tropic Return With New Single "Down" “Down” is available to buy/stream now on all platforms R ising Brooklyn-based duo Tropic have made an impressive return with new single “Down”. Tropic, which is formed of electronic producer/DJ Phuse and R&B singer-songwriter Jo-B Sebastian, once again showcase the stunning lyricism and sensual vocals that have garnered support from industry tastemakers and helped them amass millions of streams across Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube and more since their 2018 debut. Blending R&B textures, electronic landscapes, pop hooks and funk rhythms courtesy of Phuse's slick, luscious production and Jo-B's poetic lyrics and irresistible melodies, "Down" looks set to be another hit to add to the duo’s striking collection. It follows previous 2020 releases "Lights Out (Redux)", "Always Be My Baby", "Secret" and "Paradise". Speaking on “Down”, Tropic explained, "‘Do