Written by and Starring Brad Zimmerman
North Shore Center for the Performing Arts
“Atta boy, Zimmie!”
Last February, as I sat reviewing a one-man play in a Florida theater, an immediate thought hit me: “This is a perfect show for Skokie!”
I was right! Brad Zimmerman’s My Son the Waiter: A Jewish Tragedy just opened at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts for a 4- week run, and it is a perfect match — just as funny and delightful the second time around as it was originally.
Four positive attributes set this show above a typical stand-up comedy routine:
- The Frame. The larger frame is Zimmerman’s life, at the center of which is a smaller frame which focuses on his 29 years “temporarily” working as a New York waiter while he waited to be discovered as an actor. His material is drawn from a sometimes grim reality and audiences can recognize the both the validity and his perceptive humor. His failures — and his triumphs — are human, universal ones. You do not have to be Jewish to enjoy the humor, although it does add a certain zing.
- The Pace. Zimmerman offers splendid variety as he moves from childhood triumphs to adult failures, introducing only occasional shtick. The material is enhanced by his body language, dancing and prancing around the stage — sometimes with almost violent excitement.
- The Heart. His is a very warm story with a father yelling “Atta Boy Zimmie” during his early years, while later on his mother meets the bragging of more successful parents who are extolling their children’s mansions, cars and cruises by announcing when her son gets a new bookcase.
- The Lesson. Zimmerman has really made lemonade from life’s lessons. His tale is both original and bittersweet.
I ended last February’s review with these words: “It is impossible to replicate “Zimmie’s” patter…. Certainly, the nine years he worked on the script paid off. The well-honed performance has toured the whole country from coast to coast. Let’s hope it comes to Chicago!” And it did!
Not to be missed.
Beverly Friend, PHD
Member, American Critics Assn.
For more info checkout the My Son the Waiter page at theatreinchicago.com
North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie, 9501 Skokie Blvd, Skokie, 847-673-6300,Tickets $40, through August 7. Run time 90 minutes without intermission.