From Birthright to the Fringe Festival


At this year’s New York International Fringe Film Festival, step into the Hell’s Kitchen apartment of three gay roommates — Seth, Ashley and Josh, a young Jewish writer. “The Boys Upstairs,” by Jewish playwright Jason Mitchell Kahn, explores the love lives, thrills and disappointments of the close-knit trio. Kahn adds a personal touch to the show, rooting Josh’s story in his own personal experiences as a gay Jewish writer in New York.

Kahn gained attention for his 2006 play “The Red Box,” which portrays the horrific yet largely unknown stories of homosexuals in the Holocaust. Split apart from his partner, the Jewish protagonist must wear both a yellow star and a pink triangle, alienating him from both the Jewish and gay communities at the concentration camp.

In between his work on the two plays, Kahn attended multiple trips to Auschwitz and took a Birthright Israel NEXT Mini Master’s course here in New York.

“My sexuality led me to my spirituality,” he said, explaining that only after writing “The Red Box” did he become fascinated with his Jewish identity. “The trips came after,” Kahn said. “I felt so much more a part of the Jewish’s community and attached.”

“The Boys Upstairs” has its final Fringe Festival performances on Thursday, Aug. 27, at 5 p.m., or Friday, Aug. 28, at 7 p.m., at the Soho Playhouse on 15 Vandam St. Tickets are $15. For more information, visit