Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2019-06-26
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins
by Jonathan Abarbanel, Windy City Times

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Author: Michael Daily, from the book by Eric Kimmel

At: Strawdog Theatre, 1802 W. Berenice Ave. Tickets:; $20-$25. Runs through: Jan. 5 ( weekend matinees only )

Hanukkah is over but Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins plays into early January, a refreshing new flavor in the large stew pot of holiday theater. It joins a limited subset of shows suitable for young children, as long as they can muster an attention span of about 50 minutes ( probably as young as three ). And you needn't know anything about Hanukkah except that it lasts eight days and you light candles, making Hershel about as religious as The Grinch Who Stole Christmas.

Indeed, much like Dr. Seuss's celebrated story, Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins began life ( in 1989 ) as a prize-winning illustrated children's book. Similar to Grinch, it concerns meanies who want to shut down the holiday and steal its joy. These particular goblins reside in Chelm, a legendary town of Jewish folklore where each citizen is wiser and more clever than his/her neighbors, meaning it's a town of fools. They ponder long and hard over such profound philosophical questions as "What happens to the hole after you eat the bagel?" Fortunately, the goblins of Chelm are on par with the humans and so they easily are tricked by a real trickster, Hershel of Ostropol ( a hero of many Jewish folktales ), who saves Hanukkah and also wins himself a pot of gold.

The brief play begins and ends with spritely original music and song by Jacob Combs in klezmer style, which has been likened to Jewish Dixieland, played on guitar, clarinet, violin, flute and tambourine. The players engage the audience with bits of tumbling, juggling and clowning, presenting themselves as a rag-tag band of traveling players asking to present the tale of Hershel in exchange for a night's food and lodging. The rest is easy from there as Hershel tricks a different goblin for each night of Hanukkah. However, the adapters are too smart to portray all eight days, and so condense it to days 1-3 and 8.

As directed by Jacqueline Stone, it's all child-like in wonder, occasionally childish in action and performed by six actors clearly enjoying themselves, without the least bit of condescension towards kids. The good guys win and there are bagels and cream cheese in the lobby. What more could anyone want?

This world premiere adaptation could turn into an annual holiday presentation if Strawdog would slightly enlarge it. There could be a touch more story—it will be fine if it's 10 minutes longer—and adding some special effects and stage magic would help a lot. Another song or two would be great, especially some type of signature music for the goblins and for Hershel.

NOTE: Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins is performed at weekend matinees ONLY, Saturdays and Sundays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Ada and the Engine 2019-06-26 - Playwright: Lauren Gunderson At: The Artistic Home, 1376 W. Grand Ave. Tickets: 866-811-4111; $34. Runs through: Aug. 4 "If we ...

Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Something Clean 2019-06-26 - Playwright: Selina Fillinger At: Sideshow Theatre and Rivendell Ensemble at Victory Gardens Biograph, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave. Tickets: 773-871-3000;; $20-$30. Runs through: ...

Gay News

THEATER REVIEW The River 2019-06-26 - Playwright: Jez Butterworth At: Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave. Tickets: Runs through: July 28 It's both simple and impossible ...

Gay News

Critics' Picks 2019-06-26 - La Havana Madrid, Teatro Vista @ The Den, extended through 30 June—Last two weeks to see this thrice-remounted musical about Chicago's Latinx history, ...

Gay News

The Second City salutes Pride 2019-06-22 - The Second City's Salute to Pride is waving a welcoming flag this June with an all LGBTQ identifying cast. Head upstairs to UP ...

Gay News

Steppenwolf Theatre Company Extends Ms. Blakk for President 2019-06-21 - CHICAGO ( June 21, 2019 ) — Due to popular demand, Steppenwolf Theatre Company has added seven more performances to the run of ...

Gay News

Hell in a Handbag to present The Drag Seed world premiere July 5 2019-06-20 - CHICAGO ( June 19, 2019 ) — Hell in a Handbag Productions continues its 2019 season with the world premiere of THE DRAG ...

Gay News

Windy City Times and Reader Theater Series 2019 2019-06-18 - Click on the link for full schedule and registration form: . ...

Gay News

THEATER Elizabeth Rex 2019-06-18 - Playwright: Timothy Findley At: Oak Park Festival Theatre at Austin Gardens, 167 Forest Ave., Oak Park. Phone: 847-; $15-$35. Runs through July 21 ...

Gay News

About Face Youth Theatre Ensemble to debut '20/20' 2019-06-18 - The About Face Youth Theatre Ensemble is celebrating its 20th anniversary with the world premiere of 20/20—a dive into recent queer history devised ...


Copyright © 2019 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.







About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.