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Theatre / Beau Jest

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Beau Jest is a romantic comedy in three acts. To make her parents happy, Sarah Goldman claims to be dating a nice Jewish doctor. When her family insists on meeting him, Sarah hires an actor to pretend to be her "beau". Hilarity Ensues.

Beau Jest premiered at the Victory Gardens Theater in Chicago on November 16, 1989. Two years later, it opened in the off-broadway Lamb's Theatre in New York on October 10, 1991.

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Characters:

  • Sarah Goldman
  • Chris - Her boyfriend.
  • Bob - Her escort.
  • Joel - Her brother.
  • Miriam - Her mother.
  • Abe - Her father.


Beau Jest provides examples of:

  • Converting for Love: Both Chris and Bob propose to Sarah in Act 3, and offer to convert to Judaism.
  • Dating What Daddy Hates: Sarah falls for gentile guys, instead of a Nice Jewish Boy.
  • Fake Relationship: Bob pretending to be Dr. Steinberg, Sarah's imaginary nice Jewish doctor.
  • The Film of the Play: A film version was released in 2008.
  • First Guy Wins: Subverted when Sarah breaks up with Chris.
  • First Kiss: In Act 1, Bob kisses Sarah for the first time, but as Dr. Steinberg. In Act 2, Bob kisses Sarah for the first time as Bob.
  • Honesty Is the Best Policy: Joel's advice to Sarah. She eventually does tell the truth.
  • Internal Reveal: Sarah's family discovers that Bob has been pretending to be Dr. Steinberg.
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  • Invented Individual: Dr. David Steinberg, Sarah's imaginary nice Jewish doctor. (Actually, Joel discovers that there is a Dr. David Steinberg at Northwestern Memorial, but he is 80 years old and works in orthopedics.)
  • Jewish Mother: Miriam.
  • Meet the In-Laws: The first act features Sarah introducing "Dr. Steinberg" to her parents.
  • Official Couple: Sarah and Chris at the beginning. Sarah and Bob at the end.
  • Pull the Thread: Joel is suspicious of "Dr. Steinberg" fairly early. Eventually he stops being subtle and contacts Northwestern Memorial, where "Dr. Steinberg" is supposed to work.
  • Punny Title: Title is a pun on Beau Geste.
  • Romantic Fake–Real Turn: Sarah and Bob end up together once the truth has come out.
  • Relationship Upgrade: At the end of Act 2, Bob kisses Sarah for the first time as Bob, establishing that they are an Official Couple. Between Act 2 and Act 3, Sarah invents one by telling her parents that she and Dr. Steinberg are engaged.
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  • Seamless Spontaneous Lie: Bob pulls this off when he is asked about the one medical condition he knows anything about (because his father had it), or when he remembers a Sabbath blessing (from a tour of Fiddler on the Roof).
  • Secret Keeper: Joel tells Sarah that he won't tell their parents about Bob.
  • Snowball Lie: Sarah tells her parents that she broke up with her gentile boyfriend Cris. Then she tells them that she's seeing a nice Jewish doctor. Then she hires Bob to play the part of the nice Jewish doctor. And so on...
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