Although My Mother’s Italian, My Father’s Jewish & I’m In Therapy attracts audiences that are Italian or Jewish, the play’s writer and actor says it is the idea of the family and the humorous situations in every family that audiences laugh at.
“Everybody knows about family members that they recognize, be it from their own or from a family they know about,” actor/comedian Steve Solomon says. “It’s not difficult to find familiar people in my shoes and relate to the same misunderstandings between relatives that one can laugh with.”
Solomon is bringing back his one-man play to the Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts on Nov. 29.
“The audience knows they will hear my many true stories of growing up with many Jewish and Italian relatives in my family who do not always understand each other,” said Solomon.
Audiences throughout the U.S. and Canada have been laughing at Solomon’s anecdotes and jokes about his family involving over 30 characters since 2003. Characters include the perfect sister who is a chain smoker, the Yiddish-speaking Russian-born Jewish father, the Italian-speaking Catholic mother, the dumb cousin, and many others that provide perfect fodder for Solomon’s humorous exchanges between himself and his relatives.
For example, in a dialogue between six-year-old Steve and his Jewish grandmother Steve asks, “What are genitals?” His grandmother replies, “Genitals are people who are not Jewish.”
In a scene about funerals, Solomon asks his mother “When you die, do you prefer to be buried in a coffin, by cremation or in a vault?” “Surprise me,” said his mother.
Despite having a knack for imitating voices from his Brooklyn neighbourhood since age 12, Solomon did not use his talent for a career in show business until he was well into his 40s. He was a Long Island high school physics teacher and administrator for 20 years before making a transition into comedy.
“I just couldn’t stand my work anymore and made the decision to make a big change in my life. My world fell apart, financially and family wise and I knew that I loved comedy, so I became a standup comedian.” Solomon now lives in Florida.
The success Solomon has with his one-man plays comes from his stint as a standup comedian.
“When I started doing standup comedy I was lousy at first. I had the voices down pat, but knew that the audiences saw me as being older than the kids who do standup and I knew that I had to find a product for an older audience. So, I found work on cruise ships and began writing My Mother’s Italian during breaks from performing and found my path to success.”
Solomon says he is continually rewriting the script, updating the audience with new stories about his Jewish and Italian relatives.
“There are many new characters, newly-written sections about my parents and their struggles with technology, my favourite section of the play.
The comedy is now a bit edgier and the pace of the show is faster in the updated version.”
My Mother’s Italian, My Father’s Jewish & I’m In Therapy runs at the Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts, 10268 Yonge St. on Nov. 29 at 8 p.m.
For tickets go to www.rhcentre.ca