Mom Theatre Blogger: INDECENT: Show Review by Robin Gorman Newman

I had the recent opportunity to hear Rebecca Taichman, one of the creators and director of the Tony-nominated INDECENT, and in hindsight, I only wish I had seen the play before the panel discussion.

INDECENT is such a powerful, touching, memorable and jarring work, that I would have been that much more in awe of Ms. Taichman and all that both she and playwright/co-creator, Paula Vogel have brought to the stage.  And, how wonderful that such a notable piece was created by women, one a Pulitzer Prize-winner and the other an impressive talent on the rise.

In INDECENT, a play with music/dance, we meet a troupe of actors who are performing God of Vengeance, a controversial Yiddish work by Sholem Asch, that raises the bar on what is acceptable to be portrayed before a live audience.  The cast is so committed to the provocative work that it dearly impacts their personal lives.  God of Vengeance, after making the production rounds, ultimately proves too much of a shocker on Broadway, and the producer and lead actor find themselves in jail.  Asch’s work tells the story of a Jewish family that runs a brothel in their home, and their virgin daughter falls in love with and enters into a lesbian relationship with one of the “working girls.”

The ensemble of INDECENT, more than capably playing an array of characters, features Matt Darriau, Lisa Gutkin, Aaron Halva, Katrina Lenk, Mimi Lieber, Max Gordon Moore, Tom Nelis, Steven Rattazzi, Richard Topol and Adina Verson, plus Zoë Aqua, Ben Cherry, Andrea Goss, Eleanor Reissa, Uri Sharlin and Doug Wieselman.

The cast – not unlike the theater troupe depicted in the play itself – has been performing the play together for more than two years: during its development with the Sundance Theater Institute and Oregon Shakespeare Festival, followed by productions at Yale Rep, La Jolla Playhouse and the Vineyard Theatre, where INDECENT had its New York debut last summer.

There are many standouts, particularly Lenk whose portrayal as the entangled whore is achingly beautiful, and Topol’s heartfelt turn as the loyal Lemml, who leads the troupe with undying conviction.

Taichman (Tony-nominated as Best Director for INDECENT) directs with care and creativity, exemplified so stirringly by the falling raindrops and ashes, creating a cascading effect of emotion.

INDECENT features music composed by Lisa Gutkin and Aaron Halva, who play onstage along with cast members throughout the show.

The 100 minute production, no intermission, is choreographed by David Dorfman. Scenic design is by Riccardo Hernandez; costume design is by Emily Rebholz; lighting design is by Christopher Akerlind; sound design is by Matt Hubbs and projection design is by Tal Yarden.

INDECENT is playing at the Cort Theatre.