What is Neo-Shtick Theater?
NST is the brainchild of German-Jewish poet Rainier von Totberg, who escaped Nazi Germany in 1955 (he had been hiding in the attic of a righteous Gentile who never told him that the war was over). Once free, Totberg struggled many years to invent a new vision for theatrical productions. Always ahead of his time, Totberg's first effort resulted in staged performances of German kliegascheisse, the famous light operas he remembered from his frollicksome youth, with trained baboons in the title role. The Berlin Dramaticheske called it "pandering to the lowest common denomenator." But Totberg was heartened when the Bonn Zoologitecheske Observat hailed the production as "a giant leap forward for man-baboon relations." As so often happens, Totberg died in 1967 on the eve of his greatest triumph: a full-blown musical adaptation of "Waiting for Godot" with dancing bears in the roles of Estragon and Vladimir. It then fell upon Lawrence Goodman and Gersh Kuntzman, comedians well-known on the Suffolk County Bar Mitzvah circuit, to turn Totberg's vision into reality. In 2001, they founded NeoShtick with the mission of "putting the 'er' back in theatre" and were soon joined by acclaimed New York director Eric Oleson. Oleson serves as something of a "beard" for the troupe as he is a very good-looking goy.
NeoShtick is traditional Jewish vaudeville comedy with a post-modernist edge. Think Derrida playing Kutscher's in the Catskills. Too intellectual? Come on, this is the same troupe that ends one play with a "hora" and breaks down the fourth wall of theater so often that the city Department of Buildings sends in undercover inspectors to make sure there are no injuries.