The Cary Players’ community-theater production of Crossing Delancey by Susan Sandler is a multigenerational, cultural gem. The plot revolves around Izzy (played with wide-eyed innocence by Vera Varlamov), a single Jewish girl who works at a bookstore, and dreams of leaving behind her blue-collar neighborhood — thereby crossing over Delancey Street in Manhattan’s Lower East Side.
Izzy’s romantic fantasizes center on Tyler (Joseph Ayscue), a smarmy, self-centered local author whose work she enjoys. Although Tyler occasionally drops by the bookstore to check on sales, he barely notices the awestruck Izzy.
Meanwhile, Izzy’s Bubbie (Yiddish for “grandmother”) is intent on having the local Shadkhen (matchmaker), Hannah (a wonderful Courtney Christison), find Izzy a good man. Hannah embodies the perfect combination of friend, gourmand, and busybody.
She decides that the local pickle man, Sam (Sean Wellington), fits the bill and sets up a meeting. Even though Sam is smitten, Izzy is not so sure that she wants to fall for a pickle man, as it means giving up her dreams of leaving town. Then Tyler starts to show interest in Izzy. Who will she pick?
Sonia Usatchah-Kuhn is the star of the show. Her Bubbie is the quintessential Jewish grandmother. She tells stories from her youth, cooks fabulous kugel, holds counsel with everyone, and loves her granddaughter immensely. She and Izzy are very close. Bubbie knows what’s best for Izzy, and sets about helping her find happiness.
From the department of Picky-Picky: Sonia Usatchah-Kuhn is such good actress, and Bubbie has such great wisdom to share. But we sometimes had trouble hearing Usatchah-Kuhn’s lines, and we wished she was sporting a microphone.
The set was terrific. Most of the action took place in Bubbie’s kitchen and in the bookstore, and Jeffrey Nugent’s split-stage design cleverly conveys both locales with open doorframes. The details in Bubbi’s kitchen (“props” to Ann Marie Crosmun), including hanging potholders, a tidy table and chairs, and food always at the ready, easily convey a classic, warm, and comfortable home.
You’d be meshugah (crazy) to miss this production!
The Cary Players present CROSSING DELANCY at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 19 and 20 and 3 p.m. Feb. 21 at The Cary Theater, 122 E. Chatham St., Cary, North Carolina 27511.
TICKETS: $20 ($18 students and seniors), except $17 per person for groups of 20 or more.
BOX OFFICE: 800-514-3849 or http://caryplayers.org/shows/crossing-delancey/ (top right).
GROUP RATES (20+ tickets): Purchase in person at the Cary Downtown Theatre Box Office, 122 E. Chatham St. Cary, NC 27511, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday–Friday and from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.
PRESENTER: http://www.caryplayers.org/, https://www.facebook.com/CaryPlayers, and https://twitter.com/CaryPlayers.
VENUE: http://thecarytheater.com/, https://www.facebook.com/thecarytheater/, and https://twitter.com/TOC_Fun.
NOTE: Arts Access, Inc. of Raleigh will audio-describe the show’s 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 21st, performance.
Crossing Delancey (1985 romantic comedy and 1988 film): http://www.samuelfrench.com/p/2511/crossing-delancey (Samuel French, Inc.), http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0094921/ (Internet Movie Database), and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crossing_Delancey (Wikipedia).
The Script: https://books.google.com/ (Google Books).
Susan Sandler (New York City playwright and screenwriter): http://tisch.nyu.edu/about/directory/film-tvs/1971963048 (Tisch School of the Arts at New York University bio), http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0762000/ (Internet Movie Database), and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Susan_Sandler (Wikipedia).
Bruce Ackerman (Cary director): https://www.facebook.com/bruce.ackerman.9 (Facebook page).
Pamela Vesper has been a Raleigh resident for more than 20 years. A local attorney for licensed professionals, when she’s not in court, Pam can be found watching or participating in local theater productions or enjoying the vibrant Raleigh music and craft beer scene. She also loves indie and foreign films and was an anchor on the local cable show, Movie Minutes. Pam has an opinion on just about everything; just ask her. Kurt Benrud is a graduate of Cary High School and N.C. State University, and he has taught English at both. He first became involved in local theater in 1980. He has served on the board of directors for both the Cary Players and the Cary Playwrights’ Forum. He is also a volunteer reader with Triangle Radio Reading Service. Click here to read their reviews for Triangle Review and Triangle Arts and Entertainment.