Even if you previously saw comedian Steve Solomon’s one-man play “My Mother’s Italian, My Father’s Jewish and I’m Home For The Holidays” before, don’t expect his upcoming shows at Coral Springs Center For The Arts from now through Jan. 2 to be identical to previous performances.
“I am always updating and rewriting the shows to reflect the present. Regarding my family, there are always new things happenings that are humorous that I want to share with my audiences,” said Solomon, who has been performing his play since 2003.
Solomon began his one-man play at the Broward Center in 2003 with “My Mother’s Italian, My Father’s Jewish and I’m In Therapy” with his tales of stories and jokes involving over 30 Italian and Jewish characters, such as the perfect sister who is a chain smoker, the Yiddish speaking Russian-born Jewish father, the Italian speaking Catholic mother, the dumb cousin, among others that provide perfect fodder for new adaptations of the show.
His skill of using many voices with different accents to go with his many tales of his multicultural family have delighted audiences internationally more than 13 years. Solomon has performed his show for over 5,500 performances.
Solomon feels that although the play titles attract audiences that are both Italian and Jewish, it is the concept of the family and the humorous situations in every family that audiences laugh at.
“Everybody knows about family members that they recognize, be it from their own or from a family they know about. It’s not difficult to find familiar people in my shoes and relate to the same misunderstandings between relatives that one can laugh with.”
When Solomon performs over Christmas and Hanukkah, he changes the script and the show title to add “I’m Home For The Holidays.”
For the holiday play, Solomon sets the scene in the Atlanta airport in which he calls home to his elderly parents to say that his flight is canceled.
The opening scene has Solomon’s father answer the phone, with a hearing aid whistle being the first thing the audience hears.
“Hello. Who is this?” asks Solomon’s father.
“Pop. It’s me, Steve. I’m in Atlanta and I am stuck because nothing can move from here.”
“So, you can’t move and are stuck. You were smart to call me about your problem. Go take a laxative for your indigestion.”
Solomon has taken the confusion of everyday life as the perfect anecdotes for his comedy.
“There are delays, canceled flights, misunderstood directions and other confusions. Relatives bring out all those situations from a family’s shared past where something did go wrong and somebody was to blame. All these things that can go wrong get people together and audiences see that and laugh at all the misunderstandings,” said Solomon.
Despite having a knack for imitating voices from his Brooklyn neighborhood since age 12, Solomon did not use his talent for a career in show business until he was well into his forties. He was a Long Island high school physics teacher and administrator for 20 years before making a transition into comedy.
“I just couldn’t stand my work anymore and made the decision to make a big change in my life. My world fell apart, financially and family wise and I knew that I loved comedy, so I became a stand up comedian,” said Solomon.
Solomon is divorced and has remarried with children from both marriages. He now lives in Boynton Beach.
The success Solomon has with his one-man plays are from his stint as a stand up comedian.
“I started doing stand up comedy 15 years ago and I was lousy at first. I had the voices down pat, but knew that the audiences saw me as being older than the kids who do stand up and I knew that I had to find a product for an older audience. So, I found work on cruise ships and began writing ‘My Mother’s Italian…’ during breaks from performing on ship and found my path to success.”
Solomon’s one-man plays have been so popular that he often hires comedian/actors, such as Peter Fogel of Boca Raton, to play Solomon in cities that he has never performed.
“Doing Steve’s show is wonderful work because I get to use my many voices and as an actor/comedian you enjoy the feedback you get from audiences. Steve is naturally funny both as a writer and performer and it is an honor to do his shows,” said Fogel, who has performed “My Mother’s Italian, My Father’s Jewish and I’m In Therapy” in Texas.
Now in his fifties, Solomon’s success is also due to his audiences relating to the concerns of baby boomers – such as aging parents, falling hair, a growing waistline, giving up smoking – all situations that Solomon personalizes through the many characters in his family.
“When I see people walking out of the theater with tears in their eyes, I knew I moved them with the show,” said Solomon.
For show times and tickets to Solomon’s show at the Coral Springs Center For The Arts, 2855 Coral Springs Dr. in Coral Springs, call 954-344-5999 or go to www.coralspringscenterforthearts.com