Conversations In Tusculum
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Recently deceased lawyer and all-around schlemiel Simon Ackerman suddenly finds himself desperate to get into Hell, which, God forbid, turns out to be the better place to both visit and spend eternity.
Struggling against the demons before him as well as the demons within, Simon encounters other proud denizens of Hell, including William Shakespeare, Frank Sinatra, Vlad the Impaler, and a chic, fashionable Mother Theresa, among others.
At the end of his journey, Simon finds himself face to face with the most timeless conundrum of all - what do you do when you are finally being held accountable for your actions on Earth, being held accountable to a completely different set of standards, and most importantly, where do you truly wish to end up when you leave it?
..". simultaneously nutty and witty ... with a philosophical message that never gets in the way of the laughs ... it's impossible not to like a show whose opening number includes Hitler and Einstein joining voices in the Arlen-Koehler standard 'Let's Fall in Love.' The cast, with several members playing multiple roles, strikes a likable note of matter-of-fact absurdity."
-Anita Gates, The New York Times "Panitch's screwball metaphysical comedy has an undeniable huckster charm, as well as crackling performances and a handful of wickedly funny punch lines."
-Mitch Montgomery, BackStage "Think of George Bernard Shaw's DON JUAN IN HELL starring Sid Caesar ...
With its heart in the kind of smart, irreverent sketch comedy Steve Allen used to do, and its head in a struggle for the soul of a good man, HELL is a bona fide entertainment with ideas ...
Panitch has a graceful touch reminiscent of Marivaux."
-The Los Angeles Times