'Beau Jest' is a winner

If you’re looking for a lighthearted romantic comedy about a mildly dysfunctional Jewish family, “Beau Jest,” now playing at the historic Glendale Centre Theatre, is just the ticket.

The story, set in Chicago, takes place at kindergarten teacher Sarah Goldman’s apartment. She has what she thinks is a serious problem: Her boyfriend, Chris Cringle, is not Jewish, and her parents did not like him after meeting him only once, so Sarah tells her parents she broke up with Chris. Now her mom is constantly trying to set her up with random Jewish men, which is causing a bit of turmoil in her life. What’s a girl to do?

Sarah decides to hire a man named Bob Schroeder from “Heaven Sent Escort Service” to play the perfect boyfriend, Dr. David Steinberg, so her parents will get off her back.

“Dr. Steinberg,” as conceived by Sarah on the fly, couldn’t be more perfect because he’s not just Jewish and a doctor; he’s a top surgeon of both “brains and hearts.”

Sarah’s parents fall madly in love with Dr. Steinberg, but so does Sarah, which complicates things with Chris Cringle, to say the least.

Alison Robertson makes the character of Sarah Goldman very likable with her bright, expressive personality that comes through, making the audience want to see her end up happy. Robertson doesn’t miss a beat as she strikes the right chord between being a somewhat wacky, dutiful daughter and a desired modern woman with romantic needs.

We are with Bob Schroeder (played by Kelly Flynn) from the get-go, as he is suddenly thrown into the character of Dr. Steinberg. Thankfully, he can draw on his former acting career to navigate the tricky situation, and his food service background comes in handy, too, as he desperately tries to please his new employer. It’s quickly clear that he’s not in it for the money, and he truly seems to be enjoying himself with the Goldmans.

Bob Schroeder, also not Jewish, is so charmingly stressed at times that the sweat dripping off his head during a few scenes is distracting, and I kept wishing somebody would write a head-dabbing action into the play.

Sarah’s parents, Abe and Miriam Goldman (played by Mario Degregorio and Elaine Rose), are everything you would expect from overly concerned, long-married Jewish parents, but as expected in a matriarchal culture, Mama gets the last word — until Sarah finally seizes adulthood.

Sarah’s brother is a psychologist played by Danny Michaels, who finally figures out that Dr. Steinberg is too good to be true. Michaels’ character serves as the counterweight to his sister’s goody-two-shoes act, as he is a divorced father who still manages his to earn his parents’ affection.

The play is shown in the round at the Glendale Centre Theatre, which is the oldest continuously running center-staged theatre in the country. “Beau Jest” is appropriate for the entire family, and everyone should leave smiling.

“Beau Jest” is produced by Brenda and Tim Dietlein, directed by Martin Lang and is playing through Sept. 24, on Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. with Saturday matinees at 3 p.m.

CASSANDRA M. BELLANTONI is a freelance reporter and producer. She can be reached at cassandra_bellantoni@yahoo.com.


What: “Beau Jest”

Where: Glendale Centre Theater, 324 N. Orange St, Glendale CA 91203

Dates: Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays through Sept. 24

Tickets: $21-$23

Phone: (818) 244-8481

Website: www.glendalecentretheatre.com

Copyright © 2019, Glendale News-Press
EDITION: California | U.S. & World