Indecency is a charge often lobbed at subversive art, but in her stirring new Broadway production, Indecent, Pulitzer-winning playwright Paula Vogel uses the word as an indictment of persecution. The show tells the true story of Sholem Asch and his landmark theatrical piece God of Vengeance, which was censored for its lesbian characters yet was still performed, even in the Lodz ghetto of Nazi-occupied Poland. There, it had to be read and shared in private because of restrictions prohibiting Jewish theater.
Vogel calls that demoralizing: “Yiddish theater gave Jewish people in Eastern Europe their sense of identity and community,” she says. This indignity was felt deeply when Indecent ran off-Broadway last fall, but the current political climate guarantees an overwhelming resonance this spring. “Once Donald Trump cuts the National Endowment for the Arts, we’re losing a major conduit of telling the truth,” Vogel says. “Newspapers cannot have the same impact as a play. We feel the truth in the theater.”
For more information on Indecent, visit indecentbroadway.com.
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