In 1950’s Hollywood, at the height of the Communist Blacklist, when careers were ruined by a whisper, we meet irascible comedy screenwriter Bernie Lutz. Funny and lovable, Bernie has made his way up the ladder by being a spineless Hollywood sellout. Now, the night before a big red carpet premiere that will make Bernie’s career, he has been asked to name names and give up his friend. He has one day to decide if he will accede to government demands and save his skin, or protect his friend and save his soul in the most serious decision of his life.

One man’s journey through a historical reality as well as into the depths of his own soul is the heart of this multi-layered, compelling, and relevant play.



relevant & thought provoking

Ask us for an educational Talkback or Lecture on the Hollywood Blacklist to accompany the presentation of ‘A Jewish Joke’.

Contact / Booking

Phil Johnson (Writer/Actor)

Phil Johnson is an actor and writer in Southern California. Phil played in Les Miserables on Broadway & on tour; the Canadian production of Sunset Boulevard; & the first national company of Miss Saigon. He has just returned from the NY Fringe Festival where he performed in his original comedy ‘She-Rantulas from Outer Space in 3D!’ at the Lynn Redgrave Theatre, co-written by he and Ruff Yeager for Diversionary Theatre. He has appeared at all the San Diego theatres, and is a two-time winner of the San Diego Critics Circle Craig Noel Award for acting. Theatres include: North Coast Rep, the Old Globe, Cygnet, South Coast Rep, and the SD Rep. Other written works: Hound of the Baskervilles (original solo show, commissioned by the San Diego Foundation), solo show Say Cheese (Dramalogue Award, co-writer), Music, Mistletoe & Madness (for North Coast Rep, co-writer), and ‘Casa del Haha with Señor Phil’ (ongoing original sketch comedy show) at Diversionary and North Coast Rep in San Diego. 

Marni Freedman (Writer)

Marni Freedman is a produced, published and award winning writer. Graduating as an award winning student from the USC School of Filmic Writing, Marni began her career with her play, “Two Goldsteins on Acid,” produced in Los Angeles. She worked as a script doctor for top film companies and worked as a script agent for the Mary Sue Seymour Agency. One of her plays was made into a film, “Playing Mona Lisa,” produced by Disney. She has published articles in several magazines and online sites, worked as a ghost writer for a “how to” book series and is currently in demand working for TheWriterInYou as a book editor and script doctor. Marni can be found teaching writing workshops at San Diego Writers Ink, UCSD Extension and running the popular San Diego Screenwriter’s group, The Writer’s Circle.


David Ellenstein (Director)

David Ellenstein was born into a theatrical family, David has worked in theatres across the country. Before joining North Coast Rep in 2003 he served as Artistic Director for the Los Angeles Repertory Company and the Arizona Jewish Theatre Company (AJTC). A veteran of over 250 theatrical productions, directorial favorites include: North Coast Rep – Words By Ira Gershwin, Faded Glory (World Premiere), Mandate Memories (World Premiere), Becoming Cuba (World Premiere), Time Stands Still, Words by: Ira Gershwin and the Great American Songbook (World Premiere), Two by Pinter: The Lover and The Dumb Waiter, HENRY IV Part 1, Heroes, My Name is Asher Lev, The Drawer Boy, Becky’s New Car, Ghosts, The Tempest, Talley’s Folly, Over the Tavern, Old Wicked Songs, The Dresser, Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris, Madagascar, A Shayna Maidel, The Honky Tonk Angels, Rashomon, A Moon for the Misbegotten; Tuesdays With Morrie; Collected Stories; Halpern and Johnson; Romeo and Juliet; Amy’s View; Einstein Comes Through (also co-author); The Chosen; A Life in the Theatre; Story Theatre and Charley’s Aunt. Coconut Grove Playhouse - Sonia Flew starring Lucy Arnaz; Halpern and Johnson starring Hal Linden and Brian Murray. Papermill Playhouse - The Chosen starring Theodore Bikel and John Lloyd Young. Portland Stage - Words By Ira Gershwin, Halpern and Johnson. Renaissance Theatre - Long Day’s Journey Into Night. Actor’s Theatre of Phoenix – Rabbit Hole. Alabama Shakespeare Festival - Rocket City (World Premiere) and Honky Tonk Angels. Laguna Playhouse - Alexandros (World Premiere). Southwest Shakespeare Company - Cyrano de Bergerac. AJTC - Awake and Sing. Meadow Brook Theatre - A Christmas Carol. Portland Rep - Conversations With My Father and Gaslamp Quarter Theatre - A Shayna Maidel.

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