(New York Jewish Week) — Following the successful stagings of “Leopoldstadt” and “Parade,” another play dealing with antisemitism is headed to Broadway.
“Prayer for the French Republic,” about a Jewish family confronting rising antisemitism in France, will open at the Samuel J. Friedman Theater in early 2024, with previews beginning Dec. 19. Written by Joshua Harmon (“Bad Jews,” “Admissions”), the play was presented Off Broadway last year by the nonprofit Manhattan Theater Club.
Tom Stoppard’s Holocaust drama “Leopoldstadt” and the revival of the musical “Parade,” about the early-20th century lynching of a Jewish man, both arrived on Broadway amid reports of increasing antisemitic acts across the country. “Harmony,” Barry Manilow’s musical about a German singing group whose career was cut short by the Nazis, will have its Broadway premier in November.
“Prayer for the French Republic” follows five generations of the French Jewish Benhamou family, with the central plot taking place in 2016-17. The family asks questions about their own identity — including whether they are primarily French or primarily Jewish, how to carry on family traditions and if their home country is no longer safe for them. The drama includes flashbacks to 1944, when their great-grandparents faced similar pressures and doubts.
The play will be directed by David Cromer, who won the Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical in 2018 for “The Band’s Visit,” and who also directed the off-Broadway production.
“What’s great about this play is that some people in the room are saying, ‘It’s time to get out.’ And other people are saying, ‘What are you talking about? You sound like a crazy person. It’s fine,’” Cromer told the New York Jewish Week last year.
“The thing that I think was difficult for most of us to grasp is how bad it is in France,” he added. “How it doesn’t feel like the government likes Jews. That’s how a lot of French Jews feel — not all of them, because you’re gonna get a different opinion from everyone.”
Manhattan Theatre Club will also produce the Broadway production of the play, which was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Play. Casting for the show has not been announced, according to the New York Times.