Jacob and Jack Celebrates the Theater

From l, Veronica Alicino as Leah, Bruce Katzman as Jacob, and Nan Tepper as Hannah in “Jacob and Jack.”

Combining excellent comic timing, fine acting, and high energy, Jacob and Jack examines the past through mirrored events in the present. The show highlights both the glory days of Yiddish theater and acting through hilarious movement and witty one-liners.

The Zephyr Theatre’s West Coast premiere of James Sherman’s play parodies the cheap thrills of working in the theater. TV actor Jack (Bruce Katzman) prepares to star in a one-night-only tribute to acting great Jacob Sherminisky. His role helps him confront his troubled marriage and his dedication to acting, while time traveling between past and present.

Director Lee Sankowich inspires the charming cast to comic performances brimming with energy and verve. He keeps the action jumping around the small stage, with the cast shooting out lines and making entrances and exits like a machine gun.

Katzman’s star turn as Jacob/Jack brings down the house, one moment over the top Master Thespian as Jacob, and the next charming and flirty as TV personality Jack. Matt Gottlieb brings an understated, sarcastic attitude to manager Ted and questioning spirit to Abe. Young Matthew Scott Montgomery earns some of the biggest laughs with his naïve, overeager stage manager Don, looking for his theatrical break.

Adam Haas Hunter’s simple set design lends itself to the busy action of the play while also capturing the slowly decaying Jewish theater movement. Matt Richter’s wonderful lighting helps differentiate between the differing eras and productions. Joanna Leskow’s nice costumes also help define the different characters.

Jacob and Jack plays Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. through May 6 at the Zephyr Theatre located at 7456 Melrose in Hollywood. Tickets cost $25. For reservations, call 1-(800)-838-3006 or visit www.brownpapertickets.com for reservations.

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