*Casting all roles except Arty:
Jay – 15 1/2 male
Jay is the oldest son of Eddie. He is 15 ½ years old and is described by his Uncle Louie as having his late mother’s eyes. In terms of personality, he is strong-willed and struggles to find how he can take on responsibility in the family as a boy about to become a man. This is seen when he asks to leave with Uncle Louie in order to help their father raise money for the family’s debts. He and Arty are close, though it is also a classic brother-brother relationship: Jay teases Arty here and there and Arty pushes Jay’s buttons. Jay ultimately tries to be a good role model for Arty by showing him what proper manners are and correcting him when Arty is about to do something disrespectful or disobedient to their father. They bond over their mutual dislike of their grandmother throughout the play, though they both also come to understand their grandmother
Grandma Kurnitz – 50’s – 70’s Female
Grandma Kurnitz is mother to Louie, Eddie, Bella, and Gertrude and is grandmother to Jay and Arty. She escaped Germany during the first World War with her husband and her six children, two of which, Aaron and Rose, died. She is calloused by her struggles in life, incredibly strict, and a proponent of “tough love,” going so far as throwing her children in a closet overnight in order to teach a lesson. She repeatedly states she treats her children this way in order to teach them to survive in life, even if this mean sacrificing their happiness in order to do so. She is greatly disliked by all of her children, as well as Jay and Arty, yet comes to an understanding with her family by the end of the play.
Eddie – 30’s – 40’s male
Eddie is one of Grandma Kurnitz’s sons, father to Jay and Arty, and brother to Louie, Bella, and Gertrude. At the top of the show, it is revealed that he recently lost his wife to an illness which has put him in a massive amount of debt. This forces him to leave for 10 months to earn money to pay off his debts, leaving his boys with his mother and sister, Bella. He is described as being a loving father to his sons and is an emotional, sensitive man, tearing up and crying on multiple occasions due to heightened emotions. He is resentful of his mother for how she treated him and his siblings growing up as well as for disapproving of his late wife. Nevertheless, he knows he must leave his sons with her and seems to repair some of his relationship with her by the end of the play.
Louie – 30’s – 40’s male
Louie is the oldest son of Grandma Kurnitz, uncle to Jay and Arty, and brother to Bella, Gertrude, and Eddie. The play introduces Louie with Jay speculating about Louie’s occupation, believing him to be a henchman for the mob or a bagman for the mafia. Louie refutes this claim by stating he is a simple businessman who has lost his business and must find work elsewhere. Though he admits he also does not like his mother, he says he respects her and that her parenting methods taught him to become a stronger person, causing him to respect her. Though Louie does not stay for long with the family in the time frame of the play, he demonstrates his love for his family by giving money to Bella to live her own life and achieve her dreams. He acts as the boys’ male authority figure while their father is gone.
Bella – late 20’s – 30’s
Bella is a daughter of Grandma Kurnitz, aunt to Jay and Arty, and sister to Gertrude, Louie, and Eddie. She is described as, “in her mid-thirties…neat and sweet and pretty, although looking a little older than her age. She is warm and congenial as she is emotionally arrested.” Bella has a tendency to make little to no logical sense when holding a conversation, jumping back and forth between the present and previous experiences, confusing herself with what is happening in the moment, but she has a heart of hospitality and cooks well. She has dreams of having a family of her own someday and eventually confronts her mother about allowing her to live these dreams and achieve that which will make her happy. She tries to make Jay and Arty’s stay with her and her mother a good one and genuinely loves her nephews and siblings.
Gertrude – 20’s – 40’s Female
Gertrude is one of Grandma Kurnitz’s daughters, aunt to Jay and Arty, and sister to Bella, Louie, and Eddie. Gertrude has a breathing condition which causes her to suck in her breath in the middle of her sentences. She developed this condition as a child out of fear of her mother. Louie tells the boys that Gertrude used to sleep-talk and was punished severely for something she said in her sleep about her mother, causing her to sleep with her face in her pillow to avoid her mother hearing her talking in her sleep and affecting her breathing for the rest of her life. Gertrude acts as the referee between siblings, particularly for Bella and Louie and is arguably the closest sibling to Bella. She lives on her own, though her occupation and marital status are not stated in the play, and handles her family’s problems with incredible patience.
Performances: Selected Thursday, Friday, Saturday evenings and Sunday matinees
September 13-29, 2018 with the possibility of being held over for an addition week through October 7th based on demand.