Actor-playwright James Sherman, a Columbia College Chicago Theatre Department faculty member who teaches playwriting and improvisation, performs his one-man play The Ben Hecht Show as part of “Teatron: Chicago’s Jewish Theatre Festival,” running November 3 through 10 in conjunction with the Alliance for Jewish Theatre‘s 2019 conference hosted at DePaul University and Victory Gardens Theatre under the auspices of Shpiel Performing Identity, a theater and performance incubator based jointly in Chicago and Louisville, Kentucky.
The Ben Hecht Show plays Wednesday, November 6, at 7:30 PM at Victory Gardens Theatre, 2433 N. Lincoln, in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. As previously reported in this blog, The Ben Hecht Show premiered in 2016 with Grippo Stage Company at Evanston’s Piven Theatre and has since toured the country. An article in the Chicago Reader by Columbia College alum Kerry Reid ’87 notes that “Sherman, who writes frequently about Jewish identity and assimilation in such plays as The God of Isaac and Beau Jest, was initially drawn to Hecht because of the similarities he found in Hecht’s journey with Jewish identity and his own.”
The conference also features a reading of the drama The Green Book under the direction of Columbia College alum Ilesa Duncan ’99, artistic director of both Pegasus Chicago and Lifeline Theatre. The play focuses on the simultaneous visits of W.E.B. DuBois and a Jewish Holocaust survivor to a small town during Jim Crow and reflects on the parallels between racism and anti-Semitism. The reading takes place Sunday, November 3, at 7:30 PM at Victory Gardens.