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"TRANSCENDENT! The spell cast is likely to linger long after you leave the Huntington. A MUST SEE!The Boston Globe
"EXQUISITE! JOYFUL! A deeply affecting theatrical experience.”WBUR's The ARTery
"BRILLIANT! All the elements that make for GREAT THEATRE!”Joyce Kulhawik, Joyce's Choices
"Moving and thought-provoking… Indecent is a beautiful work of art.”Broadway World
"STUNNING! I don’t think I’ve ever quite seen staging that is so visceral, so visual, and absolutely beautiful.”Jared Bowen, WGBH

Pulitzer Prize winner Paula Vogel’s captivating new play with music took Broadway by storm and now Rebecca Taichman recreates her Tony Award-winning production for Boston audiences. Inspired by the true story of Sholem Asch’s controversial Broadway debut God of Vengeance — a play seen by some as a seminal work of Jewish culture and by others as an act of traitorous libel — and the passionate artists who risked their lives to perform it. Indecent is a riveting and richly theatrical backstage drama, a fierce indictment of censorship, and a celebration of art and love.

Approximate run time: Indecent plays in approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes, with no intermission. Please note: This production includes theatrical haze and the smoking of cocoa shell cigarettes (100% nicotine free).



Paula Vogel“What an honor to be in this lineup! I am always thrilled to be produced in a town where family and friends live, and always excited to be under Peter DuBois’ roof at the Huntington.” — Paula Vogel

 

 

Peter DuBois“Having Paula Vogel’s masterwork on our stage – in the hands of her Broadway collaborator, the brilliant Rebecca Taichman – is a remarkable moment for our theatre. What Paula has captured in the story moves the heart and sears the soul. She’s telling the story of a forgotten play – but she’s also telling the astonishing story of a people and of a complex time in our country. I’m proud that, with our colleagues at Center Theatre Group, we have recreated the acclaimed Broadway production of this piece and that Boston audiences will be among the lucky who get to see Paula’s remarkable play in its definitive staging.” — Peter DuBois

Video

Jump to: Audio | Photos

Audio

  • A conversation with Pulitzer Prize-winning Playwright Paula Vogel

    Hear from Pulitzer Prize-winning Playwright Paula Vogel about her Tony Award-winning production Indecent.


    Listen

      Playwright Paula Vogel and Director of New Work Charles Haugland

    Read an edited selection of the interview with Director of New Work Charles Haugland and Playwright Paula Vogel. 

    "The truth of the matter is that we all have to support each other specifically when it is not our lifestyle. That's where the play comes from."

    Haugland: Can you tell us a little bit about the artistic journey that you went on as you developed this play going from “I want to collaborate with Rebecca Taichman on a play about the God of Vengeance” to “really, I want to write a play about today and about issues that are still facing our country and hurting our country.”

    Vogel: I had already pitched an idea to Yale Rep, and I was starting to collect the research. I was kind of organizing it in my mind. Rebecca and Bill Rauch, who was the artistic director of Oregon Shakespeare Festival called me out of the blue. Oftentimes an image comes very early on. You just see something in your head. It makes us sound a little schizophrenic, but you see something, and I saw something while we were on the phone. What I saw was dusty, raggedy figures rising in an attic. I looked at the clothing, and I knew that it was Poland. I knew it was 1943, and once I saw that I couldn’t get it out of my head. I actually said yes by the end of the phone conversation because I saw it so clearly. During the transfer to Broadway there was this kind of wonderful sense of wanting some kind of restitution. It was very clear from the moment we started working there was a resonance in terms of hate speech, censorship, antisemitism, hatred against religious groups, and violence in terms of the LBTQ community. Everything we're in right now happened in 1922 and 1923. 

    Haugland: What I personally love about the play is how it imagines the lives of the actresses who played the roles of Rifkele and Manke. Can you talk about finding those characters and how you knew that was part of the story? 

    I don't want to tell fairy tales to a younger generation. I want to tell stories about women who actually existed. I want to not only tell the story about women who existed, but the story of men who loved those women, supported and nurtured those women. When I look at my life the support I got from my brother, the men in my life, my women friend who married and made me godmother to their children. They taught their children to support my love which is astonishing. I realize now—I mean, today I was thinking, "This is sort of—I feel like my brother's not here to tell us that story, but we know on every issue whether it is homophobia, antisemitism, anti-Muslim, ridiculousness, hideousness, the truth of the matter is that we all have to support each other specifically when it is not our lifestyle, right? That's where the play comes from.

    Haugland: What's it like to come back to the play on the other side of Broadway. Not many people get to see the definitive staging or the original staging again on the other side of that, and what has it been like returning to it?

    Vogel: This is the thrill about being a playwright.The actors who have been with it for the start are finding completely different things. I mean, it's an entire journey. The people who you would never know weren't with it from the start, but are here now are bringing out all of these new notes so that—you know, I was saying to Rebecca, "Do you sort of stand in the back of the room and go, 'Oh! So that's what that scene means."I mean, you only discover it now. I have to say there is an overwhelming thrill about being a playwright in that tonight I know it's played—they're probably down with the curtain in Pittsburgh. It's very important to me that this play is playing in Pittsburgh. I think tonight it's running in Montreal.They're doing the dress rehearsal in Philadelphia. This is a kind of enormous gift of the theater that other artists are just making new worlds. It's the artists who are in it that make the new worlds. It's great to be in Boston because there's a portion of my very close friends and family that live up here, so it's really fantastic to be here with this. 

    Audience member: Lemml is one of the few characters that is fully invented. How did you think of using him as a framework for the play? How did that come about?

    Vogel: Well first of all, I love stage managers. I do. I started as a stage manager and realized I don’t have the nerves for it. But stage managers are the conductors. They are the heart and soul of the production. And of course, the other thing is, just a little homage to Thornton Wilder. You know, we could call this “Our Shtetl” in a way. As a young person, I had my adolescent kind of Oedipal withdrawal from Thornton Wilder thinking, “Oh he’s so sentimental,” which he’s not at all. And then to go back and each time be astonished by his writing and the way that he portrays community in not a sentimental or nostalgic way at all. But it’s interesting that Thornton Wilder thought of himself as the stage manager and performed the stage manager. Because I think, and I’m just gonna say this and I hope Tappy Wilder will forgive me. I actually think that Thornton Wilder was the last gay writer in America who retained his privacy. And I think that thinking of a stage manager as someone who observes, but does not actively participate, which is not true actually. That’s how he looks at the stage manager. So, that’s my little Mr. Wilder valentine.

    Audience memeber: What are the joys and troubles of being a playwright?

    Vogel: I actually didn’t say I was a writer for a very long time. But I think that’s also generational for me as a woman. What are the joys? The joys of playwrighting are incredible. When you get to stand backstage or stand in the rehearsal room and realize the incredible artists are saying your words but making them better. Do you want to do something you love? That’s the question. How many of us get to do something we love? I hope we fight for ourselves. I hope we realize that people came to this country voluntarily  and that’s why this is an extraordinary place. And we’ve got to fight for people around us as well as ourselves. I was just talking with one of the actors, and you know he’s like, “Oh my gosh. He’s exploring so much!” And you know, I feel terrible because I’m there saying, “Oh by the way, this happens in the play. Can I tell you what actually happened in Poland at that point?” And it’s like maybe I should be a little light right now. But he said, “Oh my god. This play doesn’t lighten up.” And I said, “yes it does, or it will, we have a chance for the play to lighten up in 2020.” That’s the next act.

     

     



     



Photos

Articles

  • A transcendent ‘Indecent’ at the Huntington

    Seldom has theater’s soul-nourishing quality, its power to endure and to help us endure across the generations, been more stirringly evoked than in the gravely beautiful, quietly moving, altogether exquisite Indecent.

    More

  • A Note from the Playwright

    There is a story we want to tell you. I was sixteen in high school whenI realized I could forge my mother's signature on sick notes.

    More

  • A Journey of Passion: from God of Vengeance to Indecent

    1907 In Warsaw, Sholem Asch reads his new play, Got fun Nekome (God of Vengeance), for the founding father of modern Yiddish literature, I. L. Peretz. Disturbed by what he takes to be the play's misrepresentation of Jewish piety, Peretz counsels Asch to "burn it."

    More

  • In ‘Indecent,’ a real-life history of censorship, anti-Semitism, and much more

    When Paula Vogel first read Sholem Asch’s early 20th-century Yiddish drama “God of Vengeance” as a 23-year-old graduate student at Cornell, she was “bowled over” by the incendiary lesbian romance at the center of the play. A faculty member had enthusiastically suggested she read it, and Vogel, then just coming to terms with her sexuality, got the sense he was “trying to tell me something” without saying it outright. She raced over to the library and stood in the stacks, where a yellowed copy of the play had been tucked away, and eagerly flipped through the pages.

    More

  • Theater Interview: Playwright Paula Vogel on “Indecent” and a Love of Yiddish

    My last interview with playwright Paula Vogel took place in 2009, when the Huntington Theatre Company staged her play A Civil War Christmas. This week, a decade later, we spoke about her new play Indecent — her retelling of the 1923 controversy that erupted when Yiddish writer Sholem Asch’s God of Vengeance was banned on Broadway, its cast arrested on charges of obscenity. Indecent had its New York premiere in 2016; nominated for several Tony awards, it reaped a single Tony presented to the play’s director, Rebecca Taichman.

    More

  • Broadway production of ‘Indecent’ comes to the Huntington Theatre

    When playwright Paula Vogel was just 23, she read a play that stuck with her for four decades and became the inspiration for her 2017 Broadway debut, “Indecent.” In 1906, Sholem Asch, a Polish Jew, braved antisemitism and strict views about sexual relationships to write a play that portrayed some Jews as flawed and showed compassion for women who love each other. The play remained so controversial that it was banned during its Broadway run in 1923.

    More

Press Reviews

Jump to: Audience Buzz
"TRANSCENDENT! The spell cast is likely to linger long after you leave the Huntington. A MUST SEE!The Boston Globe
"EXQUISITE! JOYFUL! A deeply affecting theatrical experience.”WBUR's The ARTery
"BRILLIANT! All the elements that make for GREAT THEATRE!”Joyce Kulhawik, Joyce's Choices
"Moving and thought-provoking… Indecent is a beautiful work of art.”Broadway World
"STUNNING! I don’t think I’ve ever quite seen staging that is so visceral, so visual, and absolutely beautiful.”Jared Bowen, WGBH
"BEAUTIFUL! Fresh and bursting with life!”The New England Theatre Geek
"MARVELOUS AND THOROUGHLY ENGAGING! A brilliant and celebratory production.”Boston and Beyond
"A superbly realized, remarkably powerful new play.”The New York Times
"A celebration of the power of theatre.”Time Out New York
"SPELLBINDING! A fantastic work of imagination, craft, and history. It's an exhilarating ride you'll never forget.”Deadline
"MESMERIZING! Simply breathtaking.”Entertainment Weekly
"PROFOUND! An important new play with music. A moving and fascinating new work!”Newsday
"Indecent is illuminating and heartbreaking. A celebration of the power of theatre.”Newsday
"A tender, unconventional play. Original and vibrant!”The Guardian
"A riveting and vivid backstage drama.”Variety
More Reviews

Audience Buzz

"Brilliant work by an important playwright."Michael B. (Facebook)
"A magnificent, rich exploration of human motivation and complexity."Don G. (Facebook)
"Gorgeous, heartbreaking, and beyond relevant."Eileen P. (Facebook)
"Tremendous, moving, timely, complex."Tesi K. (Facebook)
"A brilliant production and a powerful voice of theatre."Chriztine F. (Facebook)
"A powerful play that should be on everyone's must see list."Dale A. (Facebook)
"This show was hilarious, challenging, and ultimately beautiful."@marobinson79 (Instagram)
"Once in a while you see a show that feels like something more. Like witnessing magic. Indecent was in turns joy-bursting and heart-shattering and all through a beautiful, magical experience. Go see it!"@weakleyupdate (Instagram)
"This was one of the most profound experiences I have had as a theatre-goer for more than 70 years."Morton H.
"Beautiful, courageous, poignant."Nancy N.
"Absolutely riveting!"Nikki F.
"Indecent was absolutely incredible. Powerful and life changing."Shira W.

Artists

Prices & Seating


Section
Performance Day AA A B C D
PEAK: Friday & Saturday evening;
Sunday matinee
$85-
$119
$89-
$99
$75-
$85
$59-
$69
$25
OFF PEAK: Sunday - Thursday evening;
Saturday matinee
$95-
$114
$79-
$94
$65-
$80
$49-
$64
$25
FIRST LOOK: First Friday, Saturday, Sunday & Tuesday evening; Wednesday matinee $85-
$114
$69-
$94
$55-
$80
$45-
$64
$25
PEAK: Friday & Saturday evening; Sunday matinee
Section
Price
AA
$85-$119
A
$89-$99
B
$75-$85
C
$59-$69
D
$25
OFF PEAK: Sunday - Thursday evening; Saturday matinee
Section
Price
AA
$95-$114
A
$79-$94
B
$65-$80
C
$49-$64
D
$25
FIRST LOOK: First Friday, Saturday, Sunday & Tuesday evening; Wednesday matinee
Section
Price
AA
$85-$94
A
$69-$79
B
$55-$65
C
$45-$55
D
$25

Ticket price includes a $4.00 Capital Enhancement Fee. Prices may vary and are subject to change at any time.

View Seating Chart  |  Get Directions

 

  Prices
Active Military and Veterans and Immediate Families
$20 with promo code MILITARY
Student (25 years and younger)
(No AA)
$20
Section D (Huntington Avenue Theatre);
Last Row (Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA)
Additional discounts may not be applied to section D seats at the Huntington Avenue Theatre and last row seats at the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA.
$25
35 Below (35 years and younger)
(No AA or Zone 1)
Learn more about our 35 Below program
$30

Learn more about our Discount Ticket Programs


Section
Performance Day AA A B C D
PEAK: Friday & Saturday evening;
Sunday matinee
$85-
$119
$89-
$99
$75-
$85
$59-
$69
$25
OFF PEAK: Sunday - Thursday evening;
Saturday matinee
$95-
$114
$79-
$94
$65-
$80
$49-
$64
$25
FIRST LOOK: First Friday, Saturday, Sunday & Tuesday evening; Wednesday matinee $85-
$114
$69-
$94
$55-
$80
$45-
$64
$25
PEAK: Friday & Saturday evening; Sunday matinee
Section
Price
AA
$85-$119
A
$89-$99
B
$75-$85
C
$59-$69
D
$25
OFF PEAK: Sunday - Thursday evening; Saturday matinee
Section
Price
AA
$95-$114
A
$79-$94
B
$65-$80
C
$49-$64
D
$25
FIRST LOOK: First Friday, Saturday, Sunday & Tuesday evening; Wednesday matinee
Section
Price
AA
$85-$94
A
$69-$79
B
$55-$65
C
$45-$55
D
$25

Ticket price includes a $4.00 Capital Enhancement Fee. Prices may vary and are subject to change at any time.

View Seating Chart  |  Get Directions

 

  Prices
Active Military and Veterans and Immediate Families
$20 with promo code MILITARY
Student (25 years and younger)
(No AA)
$20
Section D (Huntington Avenue Theatre);
Last Row (Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA)
Additional discounts may not be applied to section D seats at the Huntington Avenue Theatre and last row seats at the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA.
$25
35 Below (35 years and younger)
(No AA or Zone 1)
Learn more about our 35 Below program
$30

Learn more about our Discount Ticket Programs

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