James Judd, humorist, NPR personality, and author comes home to New Jersey when Jersey City Theater Center (JCTC) presents Now I Know, his one-person show at White Eagle Hall, the newly restored historic theater in Jersey City, April 23rd at 4:30pm.
Often compared to both David Sedaris and Oscar Wilde, the openly gay Judd shares personal stories filled with hilarious characters and situations delivered in his own loud, lightning-fast, non-stop style.
Judd, whose critically acclaimed solo performances have garnered audience favorite awards across the globe, is a regular contributor to NPR's Snap Judgment. (Airs Sunday at 8pm and Tuesdays at 9pm on 93.9FM/WNYC). The Snap Judgment podcasts are downloaded by 2.5 million listeners monthly and Judd’s story of battling a shark in open water was named Snap Judgment’s Most Hilarious Story of 2012.
The Now I Know Show can be thought of as a selection of the best of his work – a collection of time-tested audience pleasers including:A Night at the Opera, The Book Report, The Defense Rests, How I Made My First Friend ...in New England, The Love Boat, and Madam Riding Crop. Judd may have performed in venues around the world, but the White Eagle Hall performance is special because it will be the Garden State debut of this Jersey boy, who was born in Plainfield.
“I was born in Jersey, but I've never played Jersey,” said Judd. “I've been saying for years that before the end of the world I'm going to play Jersey and I JUST BARELY MADE IT! And I jumped right to the top by being part of the re-imagining of this historic venue.”
White Eagle Hall opened in 1910, constructed by polish immigrants as a theater and public assembly facility. Its comprehensive restoration – which followed sustainable building standards – by the Ben LoPiccolo Development Group (BLDG), brought back to life the original luster of this historical theater while adding the latest in sound and lighting technology as well as audience amenities.
Now I Know was selected by Olga Levina, Artistic Director, JCTC to be one of the first performances in the reopened White Eagle Hall because of Judd’s unabashed honesty and engaging storytelling abilities. “James Judd tells personal stories with universal messages about our society,” she said. “He is one of the most original new storytellers of the 21st century, and through his intelligence and honesty, his personal experiences become stories all audiences can relate to. JCTC is excited to present this very funny and original truth-teller as one of our first shows in the beautifully renovated White Eagle Hall.”
Now I know is being presented as part of Disruption, JCTC’s thematic series that runs through June and includes events at Merseles Studios, the black box theater and art gallery adjacent to White Eagle Hall. The Disruption series examines how our current era of change is impacting individuals, communities and culture. Through theatre, performances, music, readings and visual arts, JCTC explores topics global in scope yet relevant to the community.
Not only does Judd feel that Disruption speaks to contemporary society, but his brand of comedy firmly fits into the JCTC series by providing audiences much-needed stress relief. “This series is so very in the moment,” he said. “Anxiety driven by chaos, technology and global uncertainties are fueling the storytelling movement. People crave intimacy without long term entanglements, so hearing personal stories about navigating life is perfect. You get very deep – and very funny – fast. It's cathartic without all the heaving and sighing that usually comes with catharsis.”
The Washington Post: “[Judd] doesn’t seem to need to breathe as much as a typical human —It can take a few moments for a joke to register, but by then Judd has unfurled a few more laugh-worthy lines. One of Judd’s biggest assets is his delivery, which rarely feels rehearsed, as if he’s simply recounting these absorbing personal anecdotes over dinner.”
A former member of the Los Angeles based improv group—and Saturday Night Live training ground—The Groundlings, Judd worked the stand-up circuit until age 30, when he decided to go to law school to become a criminal defense attorney. An epiphany as an underprepared law student making his debut in criminal court—detailed in his story The Defense Rests—propelled him back to comedy, where instead of stand-up, he transitioned into autobiographical storytelling, a more theatrical and satisfying experience for both himself and his audience. Judd was recently the New York All For One Theater Festival Artist-in-Residence and has appeared on Star Search and Evening at the Improv.
Judd has been receiving critical raves and warm receptions as his Now I Know tour takes him around the United States, but this comedian and monologist hopes his long-anticipated return to his birth state will bring some much needed local name recognition . “Now when I go to Atlantic City I can stop pretending I'm with Wynona and Naomi,” he said. “I've gotten as far with that as possible. I can't tell you how many times I've had to pretend to be on the phone at the reservations desk going, ‘Hey, Ash, tell Mom and ‘Wee-why’ I don't think they're going to like the rooms here. Upgrade!’”
Opening for James Judd with be Ariel Guidry, a Jersey City-based singer and songwriter, whose background in musical theater has morphed into a unique musical style infused by her affinity for jazz, blues and soul. In addition to music, Ariel is also model, dancer, actress and frequent collaborator with Jersey City’s visual and performing artists.
Humorist and NPR personality James Judd (photograph by Alberto Vasar).
White Eagle Hall
335-337 Newark Avenue
Jersey City, NJ 0302
For JCTC information, call: (201) 795-5386
For tickets, visit: jctcenter.org
Now I Know/James Judd
Sunday April 23rd/4:30pm
Balcony Seating: $34
Orchestra Setting: $34
General Admission: $24
Jersey City Theater Center, Inc. (JCTC) manages programming at Merseles Studios and the adjacent White Eagle Hall. JCTC is a nonprofit, 501c3 arts organization committed to presenting innovative and progressive performing & visual arts as well as educational arts programs that embrace the multicultural identity of Jersey City, bringing its community closer together and enhancing its quality of life. > jctcenter.org