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Nice Jewish Girls Gone Bad
by Larry Litt
"Nice Jewish Girls Gone Bad"
Produced by Susannah Perlman
At The Zipper Factory, 336 West 37th St.
Dec. 5 to Dec 24, 2007
"Nice Jewish Girls Gone Bad" is a timely chronicle of deep disappointment and unfulfilled desires painted over with songs, comedy, dance and joy from assimilated Jewish women who want it all. Fame, fortune, love and family. The poetical angst of learning that coming to New York, trying to be modern, hip, and Jewish in cold, cold show business, has a personal toll.
They all want an assimilated Jewish man, a bread winner, not a critical dickhead. Is this too much to ask while awaiting fame and fortune? To my mind Susannah "Goddess" Perlman replaces Bette Midler, who replaced Fanny Brice. These multi-talented women cater to many levels and ages of their audiences.
The funny and attractive comediennes Ophira Eisenberg, Vanessa Hidary, someone else who's name I can't remember, began to blend like latkes because they were, each in their own ways, talking about that Eternal Jewish Man Problem. Yes, funny. But mostly said before, to be said again and again.
Does entertainment mirror so personally our lives that we are subject solely to revealing intimacies without acknowledging the world in which they exist and which may be alienation's cause? Can women comediennes rise to the level of Whoppi's and Lily Tomlin's political characterizations while still hawking the eternal concept that romantic gender battles are ever worthy of stage time? I hope so. Otherwise I'll have to change sexes to make non-romantic statements.
What about the other vaudevillians? Well, the only one who had any truly personal, original material was Poppi Kramer. She worked her weight problems into a telling expose of how others see fat people before and after the struggle to lose weight. It was a poignant essay with a touch of real insight.
The message of powerhouse Susannah "Goddess" Perlman states is that she's happiest when she's thinking about, creating material for and performing in this show. Perhaps so, who am I to argue? However what I saw was also a mirror of our current unhappiness with traditional mono-cultures.
Assimilation, stereotyping and inter-marriage are the most discussed topics in Jewish homes, why not onstage in song, comedy, spoken word and burlesque? Especially if the perfromers are young, beautiful, sexy and original. I'll go for it every time.
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