The World Premiere of The Jerusalem Syndrome at The York Theatre Company 

The cast on stage performing one of many ensemble songs. Image courtesy of The York Theatre Company
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The Jerusalem Syndrome closes its successful world premiere, limited-engagement run at The York Theatre Company this weekend. If you’re lucky enough to catch a performance of this show before it ends, you’re in for a charming, funny, whitty time. The cast is small and mighty; and you can see the fun they were having on stage from your theater seat. That joy radiates throughout the audience to a laugh-out-loud, lively show filled with jokes that are perfectly timed, catchy songs and dance numbers that will have you wanting  to get out of your seat yourself and dance along. 

The show is a musical comedy written by Laurence Holzman and Felicia Needleman; with music by Kyle Rosen. It’s a story of an actual phenomenon that occurs for certain tourists who visit Jerusalem–where the tourists come to believe they are actual Biblical characters. While this may seem out of the norm, there are up to 200 actual cases of this reported every year. Many of these patients have to be admitted to the hospital because their delusions are so severe. While this may seem like a serious topic, the play’s director, Don Stephenson managed to turn a serious topic into a funny, upbeat show with great, lively characters who perfectly played their parts. 

A tourist member believing she is Sarah. Image courtesy of The York Theatre Company.

We meet the cast while on line for their tour-guided trip to Jerusalem. Here we meet a very nervous, timid tour guide who turns into Moses, a professor in a troubled marriage who thinks she’s Abraham’s wife Sarah, and a resort tycoon with daddy issues who might be Jesus. There’s also a competition between two tourists as to who is the real Virgin Mary, and lest we forget the Lord himself. Rounding out the cast is a Soap Opera star who thinks he’s Abraham and the nurse and doctor treating this wildly diverse group who’ve seen the syndrome many times before. 

The cast is packed with Broadway and Off-Broadway success stories in their own right. A cast of 18 in total includes Farah Alvin (It Shoulda Been You, York’s Enter Laughing), Dana Costello (Finding Neverland, York’s Enter Laughing), Scott Cote(The Play That Goes Wrong), Andrea Fleming, James D. Gish (Wicked), Alan H. Green (Charlie & The Chocolate Factory, York’s Lord Tom), Danielle Lee James (The Lightning Thief), John Jellison (Come From Away), Josh Lamon (The Prom), Garrett Long (The Music Man, York’s Is There Life After High School?), Karen Murphy (The Visit, York’s My Vaudeville Man), Jeffrey Schecter (Fiddler on the Roof), Jennifer Smith (Anastasia, York’s Darling of The Day), Chandler Sinks, Pablo Torres (¡Americano!), Curtis Wiley (Ain’t Too Proud, York’s Rothschild and Sons), Lenny Wolpe (The Drowsy Chaperone, York’s Dear World), and Laura Woyasz (Wicked). 

One of the livelier dance and song numbers. Image courtesy of The York Theatre Company.

The Jerusalem Syndrome is the winner of the Kleban Prize and The Theatre for the American Musical Award. While it’s closed officially on December 31, there’s still time to get your tickets. And what better way to ring in the New Year then with a fun, uplifting story of laughter, hope and peace in time when the world could need it. James Morgan, Producing Artistic Director, says, “This is a very funny new musical comedy and we’ve nurtured it along for a number of years. That the authors are all longtime friends of ours is particularly wonderful. We look forward to presenting it in Felicia Needleman’s memory. Come and celebrate the holidays with us at this outrageous romp filled with hummable tunes, belly laughs and a surprising dose of hope.” 

The creative team is James Morgan (Scenic Design), Rob Denton (Lighting Design), Fan Zhang (Costume Design), Meghan O’Beirne (Assistant Costume Design), Josh Liebert (Sound Design), Caite Hevner (Projection Design), Amanda Joshi (Associate Director), Alexa Racioppi (Associate Choreographer), and Vincent Gunn (Associate Scenic Design). Casting is by Geoff Josselson.

Tickets for The Jerusalem Syndrome are now available and are priced at $65 – $95 (plus $4 convenience fee). York Members receive Priority Seating and Discounted Tickets. Tickets may be purchased by visiting OvationTix at https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/pr/1177881 or by calling the Box Office at (212) 935-5820,Tuesday – Friday 12:00PM – 5:00PM, or via email at bo*******@yo*********.org.

The cast on stage performing one of many ensemble songs
Image courtesy of The York Theatre Company

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