Peter Van Norden, Adam Korson, Corryn Cummins and Jason Weiss in ‘God of Isaac.’ Photo by Michael Lamont.
“The God of Isaac” — James Sherman’s semi-autobiographical dramedy about the 1977 American Nazi threat to Skokie, Illinois, and how it inspired an Americanized Jew to return to his roots — starts promisingly enough.
In an opening worthy of Philip Roth, Adam Korson begins the show in character as playwright and journalist Isaac Adams with the usual announcement about silencing cell phones, only to be disrupted by a theatergoer. It turns out the middle aged female heckler is none other than Isaac’s overbearing Jewish mother (Karen Kalensky).
Isaac’s complaint is that his parents didn’t raise him to be Jewish enough. His identity crisis is triggered by the announcement that neo-Nazis are going to march in Skokie, a largely Jewish suburb of Chicago, home to 40,000 Jews, 5,000 of them Holocaust survivors. Slinging a then-topical reference, Isaac drolly likens the brownshirts to gay basher Anita Bryant, who said that she’d “march down Christopher Street.”