In his play, My Mother’s Italian, My Father’s Jewish, I’m Home for the Holidays, taking center stage at the Bucks County Playhouse through Nov. 23, Steve Solomon illuminates his wildly dysfunctional family at this most happy time of the year.
In the play, Solomon is heading home to celebrate the holidays with his family when he gets stuck at the airport where all flights have been canceled. That’s when the phone calls — and the chaos — begin.
“That’s when I turn to the audience to invite them into this kind of craziness that it seems everyone can relate to,” Solomon said. “We all get to attend holiday dinner at Grandma’s where, if you’re under 55, you still sit at the children’s table and 35 people share one toilet.”
Solomon, a native of Brooklyn, grew up in the multi-ethnic neighborhood of Sheepshead Bay. He said that was the perfect training ground for a dialectician and comedian.
Solomon eventually went into teaching and also became an assistant superintendent of schools on Long Island. But he soon became bored and not in sync with others around him.
“My brain was turning to Jell-O and after several years realized I just couldn’t take it anymore.”
And since he was always writing comedy and loved doing it, he decided to follow his heart and do what he believed he did best. He started by doing stand-up, but after butting heads with audience members and other comics 20 years younger than he was, he began writing his own shows.
First came My Mother’s Italian, My Father’s Jewish, and I’m In Therapy. That show became a three-time award-winner and played to sold-out crowds throughout the world. In fact, he said it’s become one of the longest-running one-man comedy shows in history.
Two sequels followed: My Mother’s Italian, My Father’s Jewish and I’m Still In Therapy and his most recent, the one he said is his favorite and the one that is coming to Bucks County.
All three of Solomon‘s shows are currently touring and have received critical acclaim, including The Connecticut Critics Circle, The San Francisco Drama Desk nomination and Broadway World’s “Favorite New Play.”
“In my shows, I don’t ridicule older people. I simply repeat the kinds of things I heard my mother and father saying. And I found out that people could relate to what the 20 different characters in my play were saying.”
Solomon adds that he understands the kinds of things audiences can relate to. “And when they walk out of the show with tears in their eyes or holding their bellies from having laughed so much, I know I’ve done my job and done it well.”
Today, he looks back with great satisfaction in having followed his dream.
“It was scary in the beginning,” said the 55-ish-year-old Solomon. “It was a struggle for some time but I knew I had to follow my dreams, even if it meant becoming an impoverished comedy writer and performer. Fortunately it all worked out for me.” ••
For times and ticket information, call 215-862-2121.