Technically My Son the Waiter, A Jewish Tragedy is a one-man show; however, the half stand-up, half-theatre production also features two characters who may not appear physically, but certainly share the billing: his parents. As Zimmerman so clearly explains in his act, his mother has provided him with endless material, which he of course told her. She responded:
Mom: "Well, what will you do when I’m gone?"
Zimmerman: "Sell your house."
Brad Zimmerman has had quite a few achievements – particularly in stand-up comedy. He started working with Joan Rivers in 2003, and has opened for various, famous comedians including Brad Garrett, Susie Essman, Gabe Kaplan, and even George Carlin. Zimmerman has toured the U.S. with his one-man show, and held a successful 15-month run Off-Broadway in New York.
However, My Son the Waiter, A Jewish Tragedy does not talk about his successes. Instead, Brad Zimmerman shares the story of his journey, and the struggle that he experienced keeps the audience laughing from start to finish.
My Son the Waiter, A Jewish Tragedy
Over the course of 90-minutes, Zimmerman traces his journey from childhood through his choice to move to New York, and the battles he had to face in order to make it in the arts. We go from Bunk 11 at sleepaway camp,, to Rollins College when he decided to start auditioning for theater, and later, when he had to overcome his fears in order to put his talent and comedy out there for the world to see.
The roller coaster of a journey is honest. It may be Zimmerman’s personal story, but most of us can relate. From self-confidence in one’s career to parental pressures for marriage, there is something with which anyone can find a connection.
Featured “Characters”: Mom and Dad
Zimmerman credits his parents with so much. The hilarity may be in the material he finds in his mother’s pressures – such as when he will get married, or when he will find a job that allows him a comfortable life. But we also hear the deeper story-- his father and mother always supported him with love.
We share in all sides of his journey – both the humorous “struggle,” and the very real moments in his life which he had to work to overcome.
Lovely Relationship with the Audience
For a one-man show, the second character is always the audience, and that can present a challenge. However, Zimmerman plays that relationship with ease, and keeps the audience with him over the course of his journey – though, he certainly challenges the audience at the same time, which only adds to the overall experience.
At the very beginning of his show, Zimmerman shares three jokes. He explains that because he does not have an opening act, he will have to warm up the audience himself. The audience eats them up, and the jokes only grew in length and humor. At the end of the third joke for this particular performance, one audience member in the back yelled, “That was a good one!” Zimmerman stopped everything, looked at the individual, and asked her to repeat. She yelled the compliment out again, and he said, completely straight-faced, “Oh, would you like to rate the rest of them too?” This interaction brilliantly set up the audience for the comedy-act that was about to unfold, and of course, everyone seemed to laugh in response, even the individual in question.
Zimmerman Steals the North Shore Center for Performing Arts Stage
Zimmerman has a presence that allows him to own the stage. He gives us an honest version of himself and while he makes fun of himself, he also teases us, making the performance fun for everyone involved.
Witty and fun, My Son the Waiter, A Jewish Tragedy makes for an excellent way to spend your evening.
Through August 13, 2017
Thursday at 2:00pm
Thursdays at 7:30pm
Fridays at 8:00pm
Saturdays at 2:00pm
Saturdays at 8:00pm
Sundays at 2:00pm
Run Time: 90 minutes, no intermission
North Shore Center for the Performing Arts
9501 Skokie Blvd
Courtesy of North Shore Center for Performing Arts
(unless otherwise indicated)
About the Author:
Lauren Katz is a freelance director and dramaturge, and new to the Chicago Theatre Scene. She recently moved from Washington DC, where she worked with Mosaic Theater Company of DC in Company Management, as well as directed around town with various theaters.