UPDATE: Extended by popular demand! Special extension Dec. 19 – 23.
In a word? GO! Seriously. Get thee to the Mark Taper Forum tonight or any of the performances that Alex Edelman is doing through November 26. Edelman’s “Just For Us” is a do not miss, must-see, one-man show that is high-octane, non-stop, side-splitting entertainment from start to its chef’s kiss finish.
Anyone who follows the state of theatre in our country, even a little bit, knows that it is a vital community still struggling post pandemic and fighting to make a robust return. The Taper has taken a pause in producing full productions this season, but is continuing special programing to keep audiences engaged and entertained. Edelman’s show is one of these special events and it could not be more timely and relevant to the current moment we are living.
Edelman’s one-man comedic theatre show is inspired by his life and specifically an evening he spent infiltrating a white nationalist meeting in Queens, New York one winter Tuesday in 2017. The catalyst for him going to this meeting was a tirade of anti-Semitic tweets aimed at him, one of which was a post promoting it saying “if you have questions about your whiteness, come to….” – and so he went. Everything is material right? The details – and I mean details – of this story, along with anecdotes sprinkled in about his Olympian brother and the time his Mom decided to have Christmas to help a grieving friend are told with razor-sharp storytelling and comedic precision. Edelman expertly employs the power of the pause to the point where you could hear a pin drop as he had the audience hanging on his every word.
In his “pursuit of understanding” his Jewish identity and how it relates to other identities, communities, and the empathy that is central to his beliefs, Edelman’s stories, especially the one about going to this meeting, are the ultimate parable about the difficulty of hating people up close. It is a thought provoking journey that will have you crying with laughter while touching your heart.
“Just For Us” comes to Los Angeles after an extraordinary run on Broadway, which was directed by Edelman’s long-time collaborator, Adam Brace. Edelman called it a “two-man show” as he paid tribute to his director and best friend, who helmed the show from its inception, through the Broadway run, and up until his untimely death a few months ago. A grateful and emotional Edelman thanked Brace, whose presence he said he feels whenever he does the show.
Angelenos have through November 26 to see this whip-smart 85 minutes of hilarity that powerfully inserts humanity, humor and compassion into our current conversation.
Tickets for Alex Edelman’s “Just For Us” are available through CenterTheatreGroup.org, Audience Services at (213) 972-4400 or in person at the Center Theatre Group Box Offices (at the Ahmanson Theatre) at The Music Center, 135 N. Grand Avenue in Downtown L.A. 90012. Performances at the Mark Taper Forum run Tuesday through Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. November 21-26: No performance Thursday, November 23 (Thanksgiving); special added matinee Friday, November 24 at 3 p.m.