Church for many means multiple things: a place for confession as well as depression; for some, a place of celebration, rebirth and revived spirits. In the amusing stage play from TONY, Oscar and Pulitzer winning playwright John Patrick Shanley (Doubt), his motley, bandied about congregation centers on one thing–the storefront church–seemingly a touchstone in this gentrified New York community.
Jessie, a faithful wife wants to help a forlorn, displaced pastor of a near member less church keep the doors open, signing for a loan she can’t repay.
Ethan, Jessie’s somewhat feeble husband of Jewish faith protests her commitment yet stands by his wife’s side.
The bank wants the church property back and has issued foreclosure proceedings; the wife would lose their home.
Jessie appeals to Donaldo for help, the Borough President who is torn by questioning faith that haunts his decision.
Tom, the bank’s top executive has a side deal with the Borough President and sees in this dilemma an opportunity to win community favor.
Reed, the bank’s process server aka flunky employee has his own personal quandary of resentment and disillusionment in lieu of disdain for the job.
Pastor Chester, lastly, but in no ways the least of them, struggles to sing a new song, saddened by loss, sans message for a soul-searching community and not one red cent to help.
Tinged in reality, STOREFRONT CHURCH has the makings of a Sunday sermon, played out on an inventive stage, perfect for the holidays. This
two-hour production at the San Francisco Playhouse moves swiftly, aided by intelligent dialogue and able performers: we believe them and the premise has a familiar tone. Parishioners would do well to attend and enjoy a message worth hearing. The laughter is a bonus.
Cast & Crew:
Jessie – Gloria Weinstock
Ethan – Ray Reinhardt
Donaldo – Gabriel Marin
Tom – Derek Fisher
Reed – Rod Gnapp
Chester – Carl Lumbly
Directed by Joy Carlin
Runs through January 11, 2014; Tues through Thurs performances at 7pm, Friday/Saturday performances at 8pm, plus 3pm performances on Saturdays and 2pm performances on selected Sundays. Tickets are priced $30 to $100; box office is 415-677-9596, website is www.sfplayhouse.org.
Founded by Bill English, Artistic Director and Susi Damilano, Producing Director, the San Francisco Playhouse is located at 450 Post Street, 2nd Floor of the Kensington Hotel in the Union Square District, conveniently located for BART and area parking.