Friday September 22nd 2017

“My Son The Waiter : A Jewish Tragedy”

HEEEE’s BACK! Brad Zimmerman is back in the Chicago area doing his thing . . telling his story! As someone who spends a great deal of time with actors who all have other vocations to bring in the money, to pay the bills, so they can live in the houses they buy or rent, I know from whence he speaks. I recall my days as an actor when I worked in retail shops, drove a cab or worked in shipping and receiving. I was never a waiter, BUT I know a great number of actors who have been (or might still be) performing these duties to pay the bills.

Last year, I was one of those who saw this one man show several times. First to review, then to take my wife and a third time to bring some out-of-towners. While the story was always the same, the nature of the audience makeup did influence the delivery and the overall feeling between comic and audience. Now, a year later, we are back in Skokie (the perfect place for a Jewish stand-up to tell his story) at THE NORTH SHORE CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS IN SKOKIE. Zimmerman is truly in fine form and as his father would have said , “You hit it out of the park, Zimmy!”

The stage is pretty much bare as he comes out to warm-up the audience. A table and a chair and a thin Jewish comic, dressed in black. He does a few warm-up jokes to “break-the-ice” allowing him to scan the audience for a few “gentiles” to pick on during the course of the evening. I will say that tonight’s performance was a little less on the non-Jewish people as the crowd was pretty much “of the faith”. I will tell you that you do not have to be Jewish to appreciate the laughter that he brings to those who have come to see what he brings to the table. He is a funny man!

Is this a play? Not really, but it is not truly a stand-up comedy show either. It is a man’s story of who he is and how he got to be where he is today- standing on a stage in Skokie instead of waiting on a table at Max’s Deli in Highland Park or The Bagel at Old Orchard. These would be great spots for him to wait tables as the patrons would be his audience and wow, would he have new material! When he speaks to the trials and tribulations of being a waiter during his “non-performing” days (which as it turns out was decades) we hear about some of the great patrons he had. Many of them will be familiar characters in our lives. I know the lady deciding on what to order resembles my wife to perfection. Maybe Brad waited on us at some juncture.

His dream to become an actor may not have been fulfilled, but in my opinion, he has found a place in life. A man with a sense of humor, who can take in what is happening all around us and retell others what he has  observed and make people laugh, will always have a place in the hearts of Americans. It seems we can laugh at almost everything. Take a look at our current political scene and one can see that this is our nature. The one thing I can tell you about Brad Zimmerman is that he cares about his family, telling us wonderful stories about his father and of course, his “Jewish Mother” who in her own special way is his inspiration for his life.

His story is more than just his struggles to become the “artist that is within him”, but also includes details details about his youth and a little touch of his “love life” along with his very comedic  “Top six things to say when you know your blind date is not going well”. Adorable! In fact, one might say that Brad Zimmerman, the man, is just that . . . adorable and maybe even “cuddly” in a friendly way. His endearing personality and winning smile says “I want to be loved by you” to every audience member, and he seldom picks on anyone in the audience, except perhaps the “gentile”, but even then it is all in great fun. When he talks about sports and compares “golf” to any other sport and when he shows us how it might look if after each joke he did what a football player does when he scores a touchdown, we were in stitches. He begins on a friendly slow pace, but within five minutes, Brad Zimmerman is our friend, and we want to hear his story. We want to know how he got to be where he is and when the 90 minutes are up, many audience members flock to the lobby to get just a little more “Zimmy”.

“My Son The Waiter: A Jewish Tragedy” will continue at The North Shore Center located in Skokie at 9501 N. Skokie Boulevard (just south of Golf Road) thru August 13th with performances as follows:

Thursdays  2 p.m.  and 7:30 p.m.

Fridays  8 p.m.

Saturdays  2 and  8 p.m.

Sundays  2 p.m.

Tickets start at $46 and can be purchased at the box office, by calling 847-673-6300 or online at www.MySonTheWaiter.com

Plenty of free parking and with Old Orchard just down the street, lots of great dining in the area.

To see what others are saying, visit www.theatreinchicago.com, go to Review Round-Up and click at “My Son The Waiter: A Jewish Tragedy”

 

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