Bad Jews

by  Joshua Harmon

Full Length Play, Comedy  /  2m, 2f

A fierce, biting comedy about family, faith, and what you choose to believe, when you're chosen. 

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Bad Jews
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  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    2m, 2f
  • Duration


    90 minutes
  • SubGenre


  • Accolades


    From Off-Broadway
  • Audience

    Target Audience

    • Appropriate for all audiences
    • Adult
    • Teen (Age 14 - 18)

Additional Info

The night after their grandfather’s funeral, three cousins engage in a verbal (and sometimes physical) battle. In one corner is Daphna Feygenbam, a “Real Jew” who is volatile, self-assure, and unbending. In the other is her equally stubborn cousin Liam, a secular and entitled young man, who has his shiska girlfriend, Melody, in tow. Stuck in the middle is Liam’s brother, Jonah, who tries to stay out of the fray. When Liam stakes claim to their grandfather's Chai necklace, a vicious and hilarious brawl over family, faith, and legacy ensues. 

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  • 2014 Lucille Lortel Award Winner & Nominee!
    *Winner! - Outstanding Lead Actress in a Play, Tracee Chimo
    *Nominee - Outstanding Play
    *Nominee - Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play, Philip Ettinger
    *Nominee - Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play, Molly Ranson
    2012-2013 Outer Critics Circle Award Nominations

    * Outstanding New Off-Broadway Play
    * Outstanding Actress in a Play, Tracee Chimo
    * John Gassner Award Nomination, Joshua Harmon, playwright


"CRITIC'S PICK. There’s nothing like a death in the family to bring out the worst in people. This unhappy truth is displayed with delectably savage humor in 'Bad Jews,' a zesty play by Joshua Harmon...[that is] the best comedy of the season." — Charles Isherwood, The New York Times, Read More Here

[In] Joshua Harmon’s strikingly perceptive comedy with claws, Daphna is one of the most memorable characters to come down the pike in some time. Harmon’s biting script, which unfolds in 100 minutes of real time...marks him as a new theatrical voice to be reckoned with." - Erik Haagensen, Backstage, Read More Here

Bad Jews' is delicious, nasty fun... Equal parts brains and brawl, Joshua Harmon's play isn't a textbook comedy of hostility, but a smart, divisive conversation starter." - Elisabeth Vincentelli, New York Post, Read More Here

"FOUR STARS. Watching 'Bad Jews,' you may change your mind about who the title refers to. But you'll also be consistently impressed by this fast and funny, pungent and poignant comedy by Joshua Harmon." - Joe Dziemianowicz, New York Daily NewsRead More Here 

"A combative meditation on contemporary American Judaism, and funnier than anything you'll find at the J.C.C." - New YorkerRead More Here

"Smart and funny, intense and engaging." - Jesse Oxfeld, New York ObserverRead More Here

"One of the funniest things on the New York stage right now... [Harmon] has given us a gleefully funny, thought-provoking evening." - Steven Suskin, Huffington PostRead More Here

"It is just as much a play about defining a 'good Catholic,' a 'good Protestant,' or a 'good Muslim.' This play is not only timely, but universal." - Hersam Acorn Newspapers, Read More Here


  • Bad Jews - Montage
  • Bad Jews - About the Show
  • Bad Jews - Opening Night
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Performing Groups

  • College Theatre / Student
  • Community Theatre
  • Dinner Theatre
  • Professional Theatre
  • Shoestring Budget
  • Large Stage
  • Blackbox / Second Stage /Fringe Groups


  • Caution Strong Language Strong Language

License details

  • Minimum Fee: £69 per performance plus VAT when applicable.

    Please submit a license request to determine availability.



  • Time Period: Contemporary, Present Day
  • Duration: 90 minutes
  • Setting:

    A studio apartment on the Upper West Side.

  • Additional Features: No intermission
  • Features / Contains: Contemporary Costumes / Street Clothes


  • Musical Style: N/A (Not a musical)
  • Vocal Demands: N/A (Not a musical)
  • Chorus Size: N/A (Not a musical)


2m, 2f

DAPHNA FEYGENBAUM - 22, Liam & Jonah's first cousin. 2/3 body, 1/3 hair. Thick, intense, curly, frizzy, long brown hair. Hair that clogs a drain after one shower. Hair you find on pillows and in corners of the room and in your refrigerator six months after the head from which it grew last visited. Hair that could not be straightened even if you had four hours and three hairdressers double-fisting blow driers. Hair that screams: Jew.

LIAM HABER - 25. Daphna's cousin: his mother is the sister of Daphna's father. Wire-rim glasses. U of Chicago Asian studies Ph.D. student. Former Fulbright scholar in Japan. Has as much of a sense of humor as an overdue library book.

JONAH HABER - 21, Liam's younger brother. Sometime-UVM sophomore. Less lanky than his brother. Less brainy. More brawn. More heart.

MELODY - 24, Liam's girlfriend. Short, stick-straight blonde hair. Which she wears with a barrette. To be extra cute. Mousy. She looks like someone who would have been abducted when she was nine but returned to her parents unharmed. Works for a non-profit.

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Cast Attributes

  • Strong Role for Leading Woman (Star Vehicle)



Joshua Harmon

Joshua Harmon's play Bad Jews received its world premiere at Roundabout Underground and was the first production to transfer to the Roundabout's Laura Pels Theatre (Outer Critics Circle and Lucille Lortel Award nominations, Best Play). It has since become the third most-produced play in the United States this season an ...

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Bad Jews premiered at the Roundabout Underground in the 62-seat Black Box at the Steinberg Center, in October 2012. Following its critical acclaim, Harmon's play transfered to the Roundabout's 424 seat Off-Broadway Laura Pels Theatre in October 2013.

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