Theater archives

Jackie Hoffman’s A Chanukah Carol Is Jewbilant


The message came from Broadway scene-stealer Jackie Hoffman‘s publicist:

This Funny Girl is happening — and unlike Lauren Ambrose, she’s Jewish!”

And she was even doing a Jewish twist on Patrick Stewart’s A Christmas Carol, playing all the parts, at New World Stages.

Oy vey, I was so there.

It started with Patrick Stewart narrating — except it wasn’t really him, it was Jackie Hoffman.

You know, the rubber-faced comic actress who’s done three Broadway hits (Hairspray, Xanadu, and currently The Addams Family), proudly amassing 12 whole minutes of stage time between them.

But it’s not always bright lights and bravos.

The evening (co-written and directed by Michael Schiralli) centered on Jackie storming offstage at the Temple Beth Shalom when the audience of old Jews was inattentive and unappreciative. (“Louder!” “What’s Nathan Lane like?” “Turn on some air!”)

That prompted three ghosts of Chanukah (including Jackie as a whiny, hungry Shelley Winters) to surface in order to remind our star of the importance of adjusting her values and embracing her Semitism.

Don’t worry — it never got all that heartwarming.

It was all a big excuse for Jackie to trot out her usual gripes about the indignities of not being as famous as she’d hoped, and it was HILARIOUS.

The woman is a priceless storyteller, shtickmeister, and yenta, whether answering the phone on the Sabbath to see if she got a gig in a theme park or looking to the future and seeing herself as the star of a reality show called Ugly Jew, on which she’ll deny the Holocaust, bomb Israel, and circumsize her husband on camera.

“Chanukah! Chumbug!” says Jackie at one point, but by the end, everything’s chappy (and very phlegmy).

In toasting (and roasting) that eight-day holiday, she’s served up not only eight times the guilt, but that many times the laffs.

And the brisket!