It's All in the Family... But Which One?

Posted on Monday, April 4, 2016

Steve Solomon has a dilemma. His mother’s Italian, his father’s Jewish, and he’s still in therapy. While that’s an ongoing struggle for him, it’s another breath of funny air for the audience.

Funny because Solomon brings his new one-man (but many character) show to The Smith Center’s Troesh Studio Theater April 21-24. It’s a prequel to his original smash hit, “My Mother’s Italian, My Father’s Jewish & I'm in Therapy!” The prologue, “My Mother’s Italian, My Father’s Jewish & I'm Still in Therapy!” introduces the audience to a cast of characters right out of Central Casting…or maybe Central Deli (Jewish or Italian). Uncle Willie, Stuttering Cousin Bob, Demented Cousin Kenny, Steve’s new therapist, Cousin Sal (and Sal’s parole officer) among others, serve as a comical mirror to everyone’s family.

“Still in Therapy” takes the audience back to Steve’s zany multi-ethnic childhood in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, with his twin sister, “The Smoker.” It’s a laughing romp through growing up, mixed marriages, ex-wives, dogs, cats, dieting and all other manner of the human condition.

“It was great growing up in that environment,” says Solomon. “My Italian cousins all belonged to a gang, ‘the warlords’; my Jewish cousins belonged to a gang, ‘the landlords.’”

Solomon’s first career was as an educator. He was a physics teacher, earned his PhD in secondary administration and became an assistant superintendent of schools on Long Island. He knew he wanted something else, and transitioned to comedy. He wrote jokes for such comedians as Henny Youngman, Jackie Gayle, and Joey Adams and, once he committed to comedy, he realized he was 20 years older than the typical stand-up comedian. He was more interested in a theatrical piece than typical stand-up comedy. It took him five years to write his first one-man show and the rest is history.

Solomon acknowledges that nobody writes and performs in a vacuum. “My influence came from a gentleman by the name of Jonathan Winters. Jonathan Winters could do the sound effects and switch characters instantly. Jonathan Winters and the likes of Robin Williams, they could go in and out of characters in a moment and that is what my show does.”

Steve Solomon changes characters, dialects and attitudes in a flash on stage, but the insights and laughs are lasting. Bring your relatives and no need to bring a mirror!

Steve Solomon's “My Mother’s Italian, My Father’s Jewish & I'm Still in Therapy!” plays April 21-24 in The Smith Center's Troesh Studio Theater. Click here for tickets or call 702.749.2000.

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