The Metropolitan Playhouse presents a new staging of this 1892 play, not a translation of 'King Lear,' but a retelling of the story, that is farcical, introspective, and politically pointed all at once. More…
Reb Dovidl Moysheles seeks to divide his estate among his three daughters before his move to Israel. The youngest, whose unflagging devotion to him is unrecognized, and her Rabbinical student boyfriend doubt the wisdom of his plans, comparing him to that great writer Shakespeare’s character, King Lear. The two eldest self-centeredly misuse his largess with their respective husbands--one a Hasid, the other a Misnagid--and ultimately turn him out of their house when he returns, disenchanted, from the promised land. For years he wanders alone but for his devoted, irreverent servant. Can it really end in tragedy? For this, we have the theater...
"The magnificent production directed by Ed Chemaly should help restore interest in this variation on Shakespeare's tragedy. Excellently cast, it suggests 19th century Yiddish theater at the same time as having the actors speaking in English in the 21st century. Joel Leffert in the title role commands the stage at all times in a bigger than life performance." Full Review
"If you have any interest in the history of this theatrical form, a visit is indicated...Gordin certainly knew how to write scenes...Until the fourth, and final, act, when a ludicrously imposed happy ending elicited audience giggles, 'The Jewish King Lear' is a gripping, full-throated melodrama with much to say about the characters' way of life...This is another reminder that the Yiddish theatre was once a hugely lively piece of New York life, and, as such, is well worth a visit." Full Review
"It is a gem...The production is well-cast throughout and convincingly acted. It may be argued that several of the actors, strain their acting muscles too much. But I think their parts...warrant some over-the-top moments, and the play itself lends itself to grand gestures...Gay's translation seems modern and not the least bit precious. It has poetic feeling, humor, sharp intelligence, and vigor...This is a rarely produced one so catch it now—or catch it never." Full Review
See it if you are fascinated by the idea of the King Lear story performed in a Jewish 19th Century family setting.
Don't see it if You don't like excellent acting and story telling revolving around 19th century family drama.
See it if you'd like to see a smartly revived classic of Yiddish theater (in crisply translated English) or just want to see a warmhearted show!
Don't see it if you have no tolerance for customs, music, dance, ideas that are probably different from those you grew up with.
See it if you want to see a cast, across the boards here, giving masterful performances. Joel Leffert & Jeremy Lawrence rise to the top here. A treat!
Don't see it if off-off-Broadway on the Lower East Side is just not your thing.
See it if Loosely based on Shakespeare it brings out the best of Yiddish theater in 1892 and still is relevant today
Don't see it if If you don't care about Jewish traditions and immigrant's adjustments to their new home in USA
See it if you enjoy a powerful drama about a Jewish family with the father making many of the mistakes of King Lear. Great writing and acting.
Don't see it if you like comedy. This is a drama about family members and all emotions are bared.
See it if you like shows about Jewish traditional culture, family dynamics in this society, hypocrisy, greed and suppression of women.
Don't see it if you dislike stereotyped characters, obvious rather than nuanced scripts and predictable plots.
See it if You appreciate outstanding acting and discovering a piece from long ago that reveals universal truths about human nature.
Don't see it if You don't have the patience for a long show (almost 3 hrs.) or don't like small theater spaces.
See it if An historical gem of the Yiddish theater brought to life by supremely gifted veterans backed by a talented cast in a great translation.
Don't see it if You're a Shakespeare purist.
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