By Herb Gardner
Directed by David De Vries
I'm Not Rappaport opens May 5th at Aurora Theatre with Benjamin playing the role of Gilley, a 16 year old Irish/American punk patrolling the streets of Manhattan.
Celebrating the unwavering bond that friendship brings, Aurora Theatre closes the curtain on its 20th anniversary season with a heartwarming presentation of the Tony Award-winning play I'm Not Rappaport, May 5-June 5! Based on the author's real-life encounter, the touching tale follows the daily ritual of two elderly men who inhabit a bench in New York City's bustling Central Park. While both dream of escaping the current realities of life - nursing homes, aging and dangers of urban living- they end up finding solace in each other's company and forming an irreplaceable friendship.
Revisiting the storyline almost three decades after playing identical roles in 1989 at Theatrical Outfit, Rob Cleveland and Kenny Raskin, along with director David de Vries, reunite in I'm Not Rappaport. Aurora Co-founder and Producing Artistic Director Anthony Rodriguez, worked on the set alongside them when the theater was located in Midtown.
"What is so special about this production is the rarity of having two actors star in the same roles they performed in 27 years ago," said Ann-Carol Pence, Co-founder and Associate Producer. "Aside from being more age appropriate for the roles now, Rob and Kenny offer audiences a deep-felt connection that can't be taught or rehearsed. Having David transition from actor to director this time around, and having Anthony serving as artistic director, brings an added layer of historical reference to our production; one that will certainly be an emotional revival."
Audiences will delight in laughter as the feisty Jewish Nat (Raskin) and Midge (Cleveland), a half-blind and cantankerous African-American, chat away their afternoons in the heart of the Big Apple. Nat's love of spinning tall tales paired with Midge's griping of his unruly tenants, offer the two seniors plenty of issues to gab about as the commotion of the concrete jungle surrounds them.
Recommended for teens and adults interested in a taste of the Big Apple, I'm Not Rappaport is presented May 5-June 5. There will be a discount matinee on Wednesday, May 25 at 10 a.m. with tickets starting at $16. Regular show tickets range from $20-$55 and can be purchased online at tickets.auroratheatre.com or by calling the box office at 678-226-6222.