Best Of 2015

Best Play: The Chosen, American Stage

Best Play

What was most remarkable about the American Stage version of Chaim Potok/Aaron Posner’s The Chosen was just how much ground it covered in only two acts. Beyond the main theme of the evolution of the friendship of young Modern Orthodox Jew Reuben Malter and Hasid Danny Saunders were subjects as important as the rebellion of sons who can’t or won’t live up to their fathers’ hopes, the study of Talmud as a lifetime vocation, the conflict between Freudian and behavioral psychology, the founding of Israel in the shadow of the Holocaust, and even the workings of the Hebrew number-system called Gematria. Superbly staged by T. Scott Wooten, the American Stage production was blessed with Dan Matisa as a grown-up Reuben, David Friedman as his younger self, and the first-rate Justine LeVine as the boyish Danny. So many American plays talk down to their audiences; what a relief to see one that assumed our intelligence.