Tough Jews Press Release

photo © John Gundy

photo © John Gundy


Contact: Christina Bryson Email:

Please include in upcoming theatre listings

Storefront Theatre brings Kensington Market’s vibrant history to life with the world premiere of Michael Ross Albert’s gangster drama Tough Jews, an untold story of the bad families who built “Toronto the Good”.

February 27th, 2016: In true renegade INDIE fashion, The Storefront Theatre, in association with The Spadina Avenue Gang, returns to their site-specific roots with an award-winning team of artists to stage a darkly comedic and dangerous family drama. Set in a speakeasy during Prohibition-era Kensington Market, the show has fittingly found a home in a unique location deep in the heart of the market.

This world premiere production of Tough Jews, by internationally celebrated writer Michael Ross Albert (The Jazz Singer, Harold Green Theatre/Dancap; Miss, FringeNYC; The Grass is Greenest at the Houston Astrodome, “Best American Short Plays 2014-2015”), and directed by Storefront founder and Co-Artistic Director Benjamin Blais (Wait Until Dark, Edmond, RedOne Theatre; The Numbers Game, Storefront Theatre; 2016 Harold Award recipient) draws frightening historical parallels between a forgotten chapter of Toronto’s history and the city’s current emerging climate of intolerance.

Set against the backdrop of the Roaring Twenties, the Great Depression, and one of the largest riots in Canadian history, Tough Jews is the story of an immigrant family of would-be criminals, and their struggle to rise above their station in a violent, intolerant city. Under the watchful eye of the matriarch, Ida, (Theresa Tova - Ragtime, National Broadway Tour; president of ACTRA Toronto), the three brothers, Joe (Luis Fernandes - Red Light Winter; co-artistic director, Unit 102), Ben (Blue Bigwood-Mallin - A Man Walks Into a Bar, Best of Fringe2015, MyTheatre Award Nomination), Teddy (G Kyle Shields - Outside, Roseneath Theatre, Dora Award Nomination), and caustic sister Rose (Maaor Ziv – Diary of Anne Frank, Harold Green Theatre Company; Damn Tank, Toronto Fringe) must work together to overcome the ghosts of their past, and plot their uncertain future. Tensions rise as their unhinged cousin, Ziggie (Stephen Joffe - The Crackwalker, Factory Theatre; Alias Grace, Netflix/CBC) and Joe’s American fiancée, Marge (Anne Van Leeuwen – Red Light Winter, MyTheatre Award Nomination; founder, Leroy Street Theatre) complicate the family’s affairs.

The Kensington Market speakeasy will set the stage and provide an immersive audience experience. This living, breathing time-machine will be brought to life by the work of an award-winning design team: set design by Dora-nominated Adam Belanger (Of Mice and Men, Unit 102), costumes by Lindsay Dagger Junkin (Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play, Outside The March; Chasse-Galerie, Kabin/Storefront), lighting by Melissa Joakim (Lighting for Dora-winning Chasse-Galerie, Storefront Theatre; Bright Lights, ‘Best of Fringe’ 2016), sound by Miquelon Rodriguez (Cowboy versus Samurai, Soulpepper; The Number’s Game, Storefront Theatre), and fight direction by Simon Fon (Genie Award-winning Hangman’s Bride; ‘Male Action Performer of the Year’, 2009 AOF Festival).

Tough Jews By Michael Ross Albert
Directed by Benjamin Blais
March 31st – April 16th
Wednesday-Saturday 8:00pm, Sunday 2:00pm
Tickets $25 | PWYW Wednesdays
Kensington Hall – 56K Kensington Avenue (back alley entrance)
For more information, to schedule an interview, or to receive a press pass to any of these events, please contact Christina Bryson at