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The Chosen: A Multi-Layered Play About Reconciling Dreams and Heartfelt Divisions

Brian Chambers, John Forgy, Brad Goertz and Trevor B Cone in The Chosen.
Brian Chambers, John Forgy, Brad Goertz and Trevor B Cone in The Chosen.
Photo courtesy of Theater LaB Houston
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The story is set in a time when news didn’t travel almost instantaneously like today. Instead it came out sporadically, over days, months and in the case of the Holocaust, years.

Two teenage boys in 1940s Brooklyn from rival yeshivas play in an intense baseball game opposite each other. One group is Modern Orthodox, the other Hasidic, and their differences, which to outsiders might seem small, were significant to them.

Batter Danny Saunders (played by John Forgy) hits a ball hard into the face of pitcher Reuven Malter (Brian Chambers), who ends up in the hospital. Danny comes to visit Reuven, and a friendship develops and lasts for years despite all sorts of difficulties, including one father forbidding his son to talk to the other boy.

It’s Chaim Potok’s The Chosen, a book read by millions around the world. Now on the 50th anniversary of the release of that book, Theater LaB Houston and The Evelyn Rubenstein Houston Jewish Community Center present a co-production of the play that Potok and Aaron Posner adapted from that book.

Linda Phenix directs, and says, “I think that it’s a timely story in that there’s several themes: father and son, family expectation; there’s splits that happen that will feel like people have to take sides. And then what the people do with that.”

Also she adds, “It’s very important that we continue to educate future generations about the Holocaust.” With a cast that also includes Steve Garfinkel as Reb Saunders; Brad Goertz as The Narrator, (older) Reuven Malter; and Trevor B Cone as David Malter, Phenix says this is a good show “for a family to see and then have so much to talk about later.”

Performances are scheduled for May 11-21 at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, 8 p.m. Saturdays and 3 p.m. Sundays at The Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center, 5601 South Braeswood. For information, call 713-868-7516 or visit thelabhou.org. $22-$42.

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