Jewish Journal

World of Jewtopia

by Dikla Kadosh

June 26, 2007 | 11:00 am

Hollywood dreamers Bryan Fogel and Sam Wolfson borrowed $60,000 from their parents and maxed out their credit cards for an additional $20,000 to finance the original Jewtopia play back in 2003. The comedic play had an unbelievable 17 month-run at the Coast Playhouse in Los Angeles before heading to New York, where the two charismatic young men finally recouped their investment and then some…After two and a half years on the cold coast, Fogel and Wolfson returned to L.A. to premiere their new multimedia creation: The World of Jewtopia - a fusion of their original hit play, the Jewtopia book Warner Books published last December, and new material. Opening night at the Brentwood Theatre was Thursday, June 21 and we were there. Here is what we thought of the latest Fogel-Wolfson production….

Dikla: World of Jewtopia take 3
Danielle: We could probably have written a full length play with how many im conversations it’s taken to get here after we scrapped one and you accidentally deleted another
Did we even see Jewtopia? I can’t remember
Dikla: so much has happened since…
Danielle: You turned 26, for one…
Dikla: and we saw two movies at the LA film fest this weekend
Danielle: one about espionage and one that had a complex plot that i’ll save for the next post…
dikla, remind me about jewtopia
Dikla: bryan and sam, charming and funny jewish boys, traditional jew jokes…
Danielle: the intertemple rockin’ singles mixer
i love saying “intertemple”
Dikla: that was the opening scene of World of Jewtopia and in my opinion, the most successful part of the play
Danielle: a non-jewish guy crashes the mixer on the hunt for a jewish gal…because he never wants to make another decision for the rest of his life
Dikla: so he enlists the help of his jewish friend who teaches him how to woo a jewish woman…and her mother
i thought that skit worked extremely well
Danielle: absolutely, the performance segments were the strength of the show. ultimately the humor sustained the audience, but this new version largely resembled a corporate powerpoint presentation
Dikla: i didn’t mind the slides actually. in fact, i think our generation is so used to multimedia presentations that it really suits their target audience (which i’m assuming is 20-somethings, even though the audience on thursday night was more like 50-somethings)
Danielle: and the 50 somethings weren’t finding Jewish kama sutra positions very funny…although i thought “the challah” was quite creative. But all the yoga in the world isn’t going to allow that degree of bodily contortion
Dikla: see, a joke like that would not be possible without a projected slide to illustrate the position - can you imagine bryan and sam trying to demonstrate “the challah” ?!?!?!
Danielle: dikla, this is a pg audience
Dikla: that was part of the problem
i expected two young witty guys to be a little more irreverent
Danielle: and a little less stereotypical. i think some of the humor was outdated, like the overbearing mother schtick—they didn’t seem like the kind of guys lacking loving, supportive mothers
Dikla: yeah, i wasn’t into that skit either - too long and too overdone
but i was into the restaurant schematic where the audience participated in pointing out the flaws of every single table
too close to the bathroom, too close to the kitchen, not enough privacy (i shouted that one out), too close to the noisy table…
Danielle: that was a highlight—i thought they were great at facilitating audience interaction. their candor in dealing with their own subject matter and sometimes even the flaws of their own show was refreshing, and it created a relaxed, fun atmosphere for the audience
Dikla: absolutely, instead of appearing awkward when a joke bombed, they acknowledged it out loud, like when they listed the “biggest threats to judaism” and flashed pictures of neo-nazis, osama bin laden and then an asian girl. when the audience didn’t laugh, sam shrugged and said “no? you didn’t like that? we thought it was good”
Danielle: i certainly appreciated their joke about what people living in Jerusalem say on
Passover—- next year in Miami!
everybody liked that
so overall, we enjoyed ourselves but felt the performance was a little on the raw side, needs some tweaking, but the guys are talented and have a promising future in showbiz
Dikla: amen
they were extremely personable at the book signing after the show too, an important component of building a following
and with Jewtopia the film slated for production in September, they’ll need a loyal tribe
to generate buzz
Danielle: and they are handsome!
great for billboards
Dikla: yeah, i wouldn’t mind driving past a 30-foot photo of the adorable duo on wilshire every morning
Danielle: doing “the challah”
Dikla: LOL!
i think this conversation is done
to read more about Jewtopia, visit www.jewtopiaworld.com
Danielle: or buy their book!

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Written by Danielle Berrin and Dikla Kadosh

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