“THE RABBI’S MISSION” now playing at T.U. Studios in the NoHo Arts District through August 27.
Written & Directed By Art Shulman
Art Shulman’s “THE RABBI’S MISSION” is a sequel to his now almost classic “THE RABBI AND THE SHIKSA,” which had five successful runs, including one in Hollywood, Florida over the years. The Rabbi (Paul Michael Nieman) has retired from rabbinical duties and is now a resident counselor at the Victory Rescue Mission in his own office. Theresa, the Shiksa of which we speak (played once again by Rebecca Westberg), is still in Rabbi Jacob’s life as a friend only, having broken off their relationship some time ago.
A fetching young black woman named Marci (Shalonda Shaw) has a become engaged to David (James Haley), who is white and a non-practicing Jew.
David’s father Al (Stan Mazin), a former parishioner of Rabbi Jacob, comes to the Rabbi for advice on the pending mixed marriage. Theresa is in the process of converting to Judaism despite her breaking up with Jacob, and drops in to invite him to the ceremony. She meets Richard (J. Kent Inasy) who is a grad of Mission and the two strike up a sort of friendship, which makes Jacob revisit the old times with Theresa when they were in love. As a result of these two encounters, Theresa is back in Jacob’s life, and he considers rekindling their romance, but he has to put his Rabbi’s hat back on because there are amusing complications within Marci’s and David’s engagement.
The first act is breezy with terrific characterizations and snappy dialogue. The second gets a bit preachy, raising questions that don’t always get answered. The denouement is fun and ties the main issues up in a neat bow. Mr. Nieman is spectacular as the Rabbi, Ms. Westberg ably reprises Theresa, and the rest of the cast is sharp and spot on, making transitions properly in the second act.
“THE RABBI’S MISSION”
Plays Fridays and Saturdays at 8PM, Sundays at 2PM, Now through August 27, 2017
At T.U. STUDIOS…10943 Camarillo Street, NoHo, CA 91602
Paul Michael Nieman as Rabbi Jacob
J. Kent Inasy as Richard
Stan Mazin as Al
Shalonda Shaw alt. with Barika A. Croom as Marci
Rebecca Westberg as Theresa
James Haley as David
Set and Lighting By J. Kent Inasy
Sound Design By Steve Shaw
Web Design By Kristina Krist
Stage Manager Jordon Hoxie