As comedian Alex Edelman explains, his solo show Just For Us is essentially a party audiences have paid to be at. "You paid to be at a party, and the gummy bears are more expensive than they would be if you had them in the pantry. But, the seats are comfortable. And I'm telling you a story, and you've agreed to hear it," says Edelman. The Broadway bow of his Obie-winning work opened June 26 in the Hudson Theatre following the start of previews June 22. The limited engagement is playing through August 19. Read the reviews here.
Just For Us explores how Edelman's personal experiences with anti-Semitic abuse online led him to crash a gathering of White Nationalists incognito—in New York City. Edelman tells the audience what happens—and raises the larger questions the experience forced him to ask—alongside other stories from his life. It's a dive into the bizarre, which Edelman seeks out constantly. “I want a life that is filled with strangeness," he tells Playbill. "The stranger the thing, the more interesting the truth that we are potentially able to reach about ourselves.”
Bringing people to explore those truths together is part of what Edelman hopes for those who come to see the show. "The show is, to an extent, a consideration of the volume at which we're discussing things. I think it is a plea for a face-to-face chat." Even better, he says, if you can do so with laughter. "My favorite thing about comedy is that when it's done it can be a gift, especially if I can make someone who may not necessarily agree with me laugh."
While that's part of the dream for Edelman, he's also doing his best to soak up making his Broadway debut. "It's such a cliché, but what theatre-loving kid doesn't dream of being in a Broadway show, let alone be the writer and performer of one," he says. An avid fan of Broadway, Edelman does also admit that The Producers is his absolute favorite. "Nothing touches Mel Brooks for me."
Check out the show's opening night with the gallery below.
The stand-up comedian originally premiered the work in 2018 at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. It then transferred to London's Soho Theater and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, earning a Barry Award nomination and the Herald Angel Award along the way. It's Off-Broadway tenure began with a premiere at Cherry Lane Theatre before it moved to SoHo Playhouse and then Greenwich House Theater.
The Broadway bow is produced by Jenny Gersten, Rachel Sussman, and Seaview, with Mike Birbiglia. Birbiglia originally produced Just For Us Off-Broadway in association with Mike Lavoie, Carlee Briglia, and Joseph Birbiglia.
Just For us arrives on the Main Stem after multiple extended Off-Broadway runs last year which lead to the show winning a 2023 Obie Award.