Wednesday, September 7, 2011

My Mother's Italian, My Father's Jewish and I'm in Therapy!

Review by Natalie Susi
My Mother's Italian, My Father's Jewish and I'm in Therapy!With great comedic timing, Steve Solomon's hit play focuses on issues related to growing up with his Italian mother, Jewish father and all of the dysfunction, confusion, and characters that come along with it. Solomon, or in this case, Ron Tobin, who played Solomon in San Diego's version of the show, does a fantastic job relating his stories about his family as well as acting out each distinct family member. Some of these characters include his sister, "The Smoker," his Bubbie, his hearing-impaired parents, and his shady uncle who always has an alibi for his whereabouts.

The play has garnered awards for "Best New Play" and "Audience's Favorite Play," and it hails as one of the longest running one-man shows in Broadway history. Solomon's play has headlined nationally and internationally for over 20 years and after seeing it; it's understandable why. My Mother's Italian, My Father's Jewish and I'm in Therapy! is lauded for its comedic timing, funny and relatable stories, and also for the main character's ability to impersonate each of his 30 plus characters.

Among many stories, some of the more entertaining ones are focused on his mother's inability to understand what it actually means to be kosher. In another recollection, Solomon tells us of the time when, as a young boy, he questioned his grandmother about sexual reproduction. He asked her what "genitals were," and she mistakes the word for "gentiles" and says they are people who aren't Jewish. His grandmother tends to confuse a lot of things in this same manner. His mother spends most of her time cooking and his father avoids confrontation. Whenever an uncomfortable subject arises, Solomon's dad avoids it by suggesting that they go out for Chinese food.

Steve Solomon's title says it all, and his one-man show has all the makings for a night spent laughing at the expense of other peoples' familial dysfunctions. Since I come from an Italian family where I spent every summer making tomato sauce (or gravy as Solomon's mother calls it) and every Sunday dinner trying to decipher my grandparent's broken English, I was able to relate with many of the jokes as were my parents who I brought along for the ride.

I thoroughly enjoyed Solomon's portrayal of his crazy family members.  Certainly, we can all relate to a few off the wall relatives. You don't have to be Italian or Jewish to appreciate this show. You just have to appreciate witty tales revolving around ethnic stereotypes, toilet humor, and sex. I laughed the whole way through. The only disappointing part was that I couldn't actually see each one of these hysterical characters. Thankfully, Ron Tobin (playing Solomon) is a genius at capturing the funniest parts of each of his characters with impersonations and various accents. If you are looking for easy laughs, entertainment, and a feel good play, My Mother's Italian, My Father's Jewish and I'm in Therapy! is a good option.

Solomon has two sequels in this series: My Mother's Italian, My Father's Jewish and I'm still in Therapy! and My Mother's Italian, My Father's Jewish and I'm Home for the Holidays.
My Mother's Italian, My Father's Jewish and I'm in Therapy! is playing at the San Diego Repertory Theatre at 79 Horton Plaza, San Diego, CA 92101 on Wednesdays at 7 PM, Thursdays and Fridays at 8 PM, Saturdays at 2 and 8 PM, and Sundays at 2 and 5:30 PM from June 15th- September 4th.
For more information or to purchase tickets, go to or call 619-544-1000.


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