Steve Solomon has a funny family. He discovered he was good at accents growing up in Brooklyn, NY and often used it to his advantage whenever he had the chance. He is a writer and comedian who enjoyed great success a in his award-winning, one man comedy show, “My Mother’s Italian, My Father’s Jewish, and I’m in Therapy.” This show launched several sequels including a holiday show, “My Mother’s Italian, My Father’s Jewish, and I’m Home for the Holidays” featured at the Regent Theatre in Arlington, Massachusetts through Sunday, December 20. Click here for more information!
“My Mother’s Italian, My Father’s Jewish and I’m Home for the Holidays” features Peter Fogel as the dynamic storyteller in this Boston production. Writer and comedian Steve Solomon reflects on the surprises and excitement of this live show.
Jeanne Denizard: ‘My Mother’s Italian, My Father’s Jewish, and I’m Home for the Holidays’ one man comedic show about a hectic family gathering stands out. Please tell me how this show is different from ‘My Mother’s Italian, My Father’s Jewish, and I’m in Therapy.’
Steve Solomon: A lot of the characters are the same, but we also introduce some new characters. We’re on our way to a big family dinner down in Florida and unfortunately due to a snowstorm, all flights are cancelled. I’m stuck in Atlanta airport. The problem is I have to pick up the cake and fly there and my mom, a little tough little Sicilian, is going to yell at me no matter what. So, the phone calls start and the announcements start at the airport. I start telling my story to the people right there. It’s wild.
We do about 20 different characters in the show. It’s a lot of fun, belly laughs. You really don’t have to be Italian or Jewish to relate. You just have to know what it is to go to a family dinner and come home with heartburn and a headache. We did this out in Spokane, Washington and there isn’t an Italian within 600 miles and they just eat it up. It’s a lot of fun.
JD: Was this always going to be a one man show? Did you ever consider having a cast of characters when you started?
SS: Never. One has to do with the economy. When you are traveling around with a big touring cast and a road director and a manager, it’s both costly and you have to worry about replacements. If you have three people in the cast, you also need three understudies. The show must go on. With a one man show and three people to do the show, you can juggle bodies if you have to.
JD: It also seems more personal coming from one person.
SS: When we are onstage, within ten minutes, the people think they are sitting on a couch next to us and we’re chatting. I train my actors so people think this is their friend talking to me, not some actor on the stage.
JD: Anything can go wrong with these shows. Is there a particular memory of people’s reactions to your humor during these programs?
SS: In the middle of the show, there was an important phone call. We gave the sound and lighting people plenty of time to be ready for the cues because there are a dozen or so sound cues following announcements. Well, the sound guy must have been bending down tying his shoe because we’re waiting for the phone to ring and my sister to call, but it is not ringing. You ad-lib a little bit and it is still not ringing. So, I said, ‘Yeah, I’m waiting to hear from my sister’ but it is not in the script. I was trying to give him time to realize he had to push that button. I said once more that I was waiting for my sister, but maybe she is busy and he was still not pushing the button. I walked to the end of the stage and I said, ‘Or maybe the sound guy forgot to push the button.’ Suddenly the phone rang. I picked it up, looked at the audience and said, ‘Live theatre, what do you want?’ They clapped and laughed. The excitement about live theatre is there is no retake.
JD: You’ve been doing these shows awhile. Have your shows changed over time? Do you occasionally select other stories to tell?
SS: I literally update it day by day. New material can always be popped into the show. We’re not singers. We don’t go onstage and sing a song for three or four minutes and get applause. If we don’t get a laugh every 15 seconds, something is wrong with the show. It’s wonderful to look down at the audience and they are either holding their belly or their jaw because they have been laughing so hard it hurts.
JD: The show has won awards. How did that feel to talk about your family and then getting up and receiving recognition?
SS: It’s good, but we don’t do it for the awards. We got Broadwayworld.com for Best New Play and Audience Favorite Award for the year which was a shocker. I was also nominated for Best Actor in a Solo Performance. It’s nice to know that those things are there, but quite frankly, I know what my job is and that is to make the audiences happy and that is all I care about.
See the final performances of “My Mother’s Italian, My Father’s Jewish, and I’m Home for the Holidays” through Sunday, December 20 at Regent Theatre, 7 Medford Street in Arlington, Massachusetts through Sunday, December 20. Steve’s bestselling cookbook and joke book as well as CD, “My Mother’s Italian, My Father’s Jewish, and I’m in Therapy” will be available at the show.
Click here for tickets or call 781-646-4849. Tickets are also available at the door. Follow Regent Theatre on Facebook.