Rabbi Shmuley, ‘America’s Rabbi’ at ‘All Aboard the Marriage Hearse.’

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“All Aboard the Marriage Hearse,” written and directed by Matt Morillo, is being revived by Theater for the New City April 23 to May 16, 2009 to share one of its most popular shows of last season with a larger audience. The play is a conundrum: a “romantic date” show that is, ideologically at least, against the institution of marriage. So it is with great excitement that writer/director Matt Morillo and cast members Jessica Moreno and Nick Coleman will welcome an articulate advocate for marriage, “America’s Rabbi,” Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, for a lively post-play discussion on opening night, April 23.

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Rabbi Shmuley Boteach in postplay discussion at Theaster for the New City Feb. 2, 2008. Photo by Jonathan Slaff.

The Rabbi appeared at a similar evening last season during the play’s debut run. He and the show’s team found the evening so provocatively exciting that they were eager to match wits again. The plan is for another confrontation on the subjects of marriage, family, commitment and anything else that comes along.

Hold on to your hats.

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach is host of the award-winning national TV show, “Shalom in the Home” on TLC. He is also the international best-selling author of 20 books, including his most recent work, “The Kosher Sutra: Eight Sacred Secrets for Reigniting Desire and Restoring Passion for Life” (Harper One). His book “Kosher Sex” was an international blockbuster, published in 20 languages, and his recent books on the American family, “Parenting With Fire and Ten Conversations You Need to Have With Your Children” were both launched on The Oprah Winfrey Show.

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ALL ABOARD THE MARRIAGE HEARSE- Nick Coleman and Jessica Moreno. Photo by Jonathan Slaff.

Playwright Matt Morillo is a canny observer of the mating dances of the post-Clinton era. In “All Aboard the Marriage Hearse,” he comments on the institution of marriage, or at least the dread of it. Sean, a smart, handsome and fashionable magazine humorist, struggles to retain his bachelorhood in the comedy. Sean’s not against commitment, but he’s dogmatically against the sacred institution, which he considers archaic and unnecessary. His assumptions are severely tested by his to-die-for, live-in girlfriend, Amy. She has just caught the bouquet at her friend’s wedding and is determined to throw one at her own, and soon. The couple grapples to an uneasy compromise in this two-act standoff, which deals cleverly and drolly with the dread of nuptials, the dread of intermarriage, the dread of being trapped, and just about everything else you struggle with before you finally might give in.

The talk back is free; the show is $20. The running time of the play is 80 minutes. It’s hard to anticipate how long the post-play talkback will be, since last year people didn’t want to leave.

“All Aboard the Marriage Hearse” will play April 23 to May 16, 2009 at Theater for the New City, 155 First Avenue (at E. 10th St.). Performances are Th-Sat at 8:00 pm ($20), Sun at 3:00 pm (pay what you can); tdf/v. Tickets can be ordered through SMARTTIX at 212 868-4444 or www.smarttix.com. The show’s website is www.KADM.com.

Jonathan Slaff is a New York publicist in the specialty of international cultural events. Jonathan and his writers keep us ahead of the curve in the world of the arts and culture.