Theater review: Crossing Delancey - romantic comedy and Jewish grandmothers make an entertaining experience

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Crossing Delancey
By Susan Sandler
Directed by David Bailey
The Phoenix Theatre
June 2 - 25, 2017
Friday and Saturday 8:00 pm Sunday 2:00 pm
Adults 19.50 Senior/Military 16.50
Tickets thru

Review by Doug Gochanour
Photos courtesy Phoenix Theatre

Izzy Grossman finds herself in a pickle over romantic interests.

Crossing Delancey is a popular romantic comedy that relates well with this time of year. Graduations and weddings seem to imply a stepping up to new levels of life challenges. It may be by entering the next appropriate level of learning, or entering a new career, or finding and developing a romance with a prospective life partner. It is a time for being open to new adventures, presented to us by the universe.

Izzy is not thrilled with the plans for her love life
Movie buffs may recall the 1988 movie version, featuring Amy Irving as Izzy. This Phoenix Theatre presentation gives us an opportunity to experience the fun of Crossing Delancey on stage, with a wonderful cast to bring it all to life. Theatre lovers rejoice!

Erica Bergman is outstanding as Izzy, a thirty-something single, who is living alone in a rent-controlled, smallish West Side apartment.

She regularly visits her grandmother, Bubbie, who lives in a Lower East Side apartment. Cindy Giese French as Bubbie, plays a traditional Jewish grandmother, who worries about single Isabelle living alone. You know she will try to fix that situation. It is in her job description to interfere and control.

Izzy is actually doing pretty well, for being on her own. She enjoys working in an upscale, independent bookstore, and she is gaining prestige along with the store. Izzy’s position allows her to cozy up to a number of local authors, and she likes being a part of that intellectual scene.

Romance with a pickle seller?
Izzy fancies herself romantically involved with author Tyler Moss, (Phillip Keiman). Her attraction to Tyler blinds her to his real motivation and character.

Unfortunately, Moss is more attracted by her physical beauty than by her mind. It would seem that some men are thinking of sex when they talk to a pretty girl, no matter how their words may flatter her intelligence. Who would have thought?

A determined Bubbie hires Hannah Mandelbaum (Dawn Cornell), her matchmaker friend, to find a "good catch" for Izzy. 

After initial reluctance, Izzy agrees to give it a try. She is introduced to pleasant and unassuming Sam, perfectly played by Boyd Morrison. Sam runs his own pickle stand on the Lower East Side. 

Izzy does not believe she could have anything in common with a pickle man. She still considers herself to be more intellectual than a Lower East Side merchant.

Don't they make a cute couple!
Izzy is pleasantly surprised by Sam’s subtle wit and wisdom.

Can Sam persuade her to change her style with a new hat? Will Izzy be able to appreciate Sam as the perfectly caring gentleman? 

Izzy struggles with many choices. 

Will she yield to her traditional Jewish upbringing or cross Delancey to a more modern approach to living?

She is enamored with the intellectual world, but appreciative of the simple love from her family. She feels the culture clash.

Come enjoy the humorous dialogue nestled within the manufactured suspense. Will there be a blossoming romance?

You will be glad you came to find out.


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